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100 pages, all Airdrie!


ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Airdrie’s first female brewer, women behind the cannabis counters, HERstory and the open mike scene airdrielife.com


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The 2020 Amazing Airdrie Women nominees. From left: Kadie Johnston (floor), Katie Li-Broussard, Amanda Ubell, Kendra Phillips, Nikki Nordick, Vanessa Bellegarde (floor), Melissa Bentley, Pamela Burrill, Brenda Hume, Michelle Carre, Shelley Armitage (floor), Ellisa Podemski, Sheri McAllister, Bryttani Ross, Mandi Fusaro-Smith, Bailee-Dawn Rowat, Lorelei Talbot, Chelsea Restall, Carmen Vetian, Kelsey Davidson, Marlene Raasok, Mackenzie Cox (floor), Jane Russett, Laura Hudson, Barb Woolsey, Ainsley Kirk, Megan Skarsen, Katherine Mooney, Michelle Evans, Debi Macleod, Abby Sensabaugh, Brenda Moon, Holly Albersworth, Marianne French, Sienna MacDonald, Shannon Isaac, Michelle Cyrzan (floor), Lorraine Zwicker, Wendy Bates, BerylAnne Hodgins, Kiersten Mohr, Ashley Hunt (floor), Shelley Bitz. Missing from photo is Kendra Arnason.


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Lift to see more of the 2020 Pharmasave & airdrielife Amazing Airdrie Women nominees!


airdrie women LOOK AMAZING!

We’ve been a proud partner of the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards for 10 years! We will see you April 30 at the Bert Church Theatre for all the amazing celebrations. But first, join us March 31, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., at our store for the unveiling of the Amazing Airdrie Women POWER of ART exhibit. 10 pieces of art created by area women. Meet the artists, enjoy a spring fashion show and do some shopping as 10% from all fashion sales this evening will be in support of Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. The art pieces will be available for silent auction bids at our store until April 29. Final bids will close at the 10th annual Amazing Airdrie Women Awards April 30 at the Bert Church Theatre. It’s going to be an amazing spring.


The Store Upstairs Boutique

@thestoreupstairs S P R I N G thestoreupstairs.com 2020 | airdrielife.com


You see a puddle.

They see a splash park. 6

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Live somewhere your kids will love. IN AIRDRIE’S NEWEST COMMUNITY Whether you are downsizing, getting your first place, or ready to level up, we have the perfect home for you. With a variety of townhomes, duplexes, and single family homes available, Lanark Landing has something for every family. TOWNHOMES from $280k | DUPLEXES from $299k | HOMES from $360k

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S P R I N G 2020




BUILT FOR THE WAY YOU LIVE. Our philosophy reflects our commitment to building beautiful custom homes for the families who live in them. Come visit our Showhome | 1217 Cooper’s Drive 403 912 7900 harderhomes.ca


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Community by

Latest innovation & technology for convenient, long lasting & safe ways to help you get the look you’ve always wanted.


Sherry Shaw-Froggatt


Katie Dudek



Vanessa Peterelli Kim Williams


Sergei Belski, Michelle Carre, Stacie Gaetz, Laurie Harvey, Jill Iverson, Britton Ledingham, Tara Levick, Kristy Reimer, Wyatt Tremblay Stock photography by istock


Lia Golemba


Wendy Pratt


Sharie Tanner

PRINTING Transcontinental

CONTACT US EDITORIAL sherry@frogmediainc.ca ADVERTISING wendy@frogmediainc.ca WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA katie@frogmediainc.ca

WHERE TO FIND US airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue please contact sherry@frogmediainc.ca airdrielife is available at more than 100 locations around the city. You can also find airdrielife in every Airdrie showhome, at CrossIron Mills 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 17, NUMBER 1 | ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2020 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.


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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. airdrielife does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with published samples, to sherry@frogmediainc.ca

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Note from the publisher W

hew! Putting these 100 pages together was a lot. A lot of work, a lot of stress (that foldout cover gave me and my designer even more grey hairs) but also a lot of fun! We had three major events take place to prepare for this issue all within days of each other and only weeks before we uploaded to the press. First we celebrated the 2020 Awesome Airdrie Kids (see page 74), which was such a delight and so rewarding to see these kids all decked out in their bright-orange “I’m Amazing” T-shirts. Then we spent two nights meeting and photographing our 2020 Amazing Airdrie Women awards at the Nose Creek Valley Museum utilizing artefacts that women from our past would have used in their day-to-day lives. (I especially loved having our youngest nominees holding an old-fashion telephone!) This cover project is very time consuming for photographer Kristy Reimer; she does a lot of preplanning and then a lot of editing after. Special thanks to writer Stacie Gaetz for connecting with all 44 nominees and capturing the essence of their stories and new this year we had Britton Ledingham do behind-the-scenes photos and video that will be part of the big awards night April 30. (P.S. save the date!) This is going to be the most amazing night in Airdrie – we’ve outgrown a luncheon and in celebration of 10 years we are glamming it up at the Bert Church Theatre with a great party! Tickets are on sale now at thebertchurchtheatre.com/buytickets We chose the museum location as our inspiration because airdrielife is actually going to be part of an exhibit on Airdrie women that runs until June 15. Check it out and discover the 10 years of Amazing Airdrie Women on display along with the stories and HERstory of our city! And lastly, only five days before we went to press, we celebrated the first ever Airdrie Made Awards at the new showhomes in Cooper’s Crossing (see page 70). We were shoulder to shoulder in the showhome kitchens noshing on samples from the taste purveyors and visiting with all the makers of this exciting new project we created to celebrate the creative and innovative entrepreneurs in our city. I really hope we can grow this awards program and continue to showcase these talented makers in our community. I have to say thank you to the businesses that choose airdrielife as a way to reach and connect with the community. Your decision to spend your advertising and/or sponsor money with us is an affirmation that we are doing the right things to bring our city together.

Sherry Shaw-Froggatt

Amazing Photography A special shoutout to photographer Kristy Reimer who has been shooting the Amazing Airdrie Women features since day one. This is the second time we’ve created a four-panel fold-out cover which (if you stand your magazine up and look down from the top at the spine) consists of two six-page roll folds. Getting 43 women in one go wasn’t an option so Kristy carefully planned the shots. “The composite is made of seven groups and two individual photos pieced together in Photoshop. I drew out the entire shoot on paper beforehand. I needed poses that would make the edges of each group shot fit together and that the legs of the people sitting on the floor wouldn’t be touching the next set of legs in the next group. Definitely a challenge and fun to shoot!” I am in awe of her talent. Thank you Kristy for being an amazing woman in your own right. (P.S. thanks Britton Ledingham for snapping Kristy’s pic. Britton is creating a behind-the-scenes video for our awards evening April 30.)




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JOin US!


May 30-31, 2020 10 am - 4 pm yaM

Children’s village inspiration stations entertainment stage workshops


18 Being Suruchi 22 Open mike 24 Viva Italia! 26 Meal prep 101 28 What’s on 31 Live on stage 33 Laura’s new look 35 Fashion files 40 Fab fitness results 44 Parentlife 46 Seniorlife


48 Lanark Landing 50 Chinook Gate 54 Permit advice 56 Cooper’s new homes 58 Rightsizing 60 Home show brings the style



33 82On the Cover airdriechildrensfest.com 16



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The 2020 Amazing Airdrie Women on location at the Nose Creek Valley Museum. PHOTOS BY KRISTY REIMER

61 Women & weed 64 Chamberlain takes the lead 65 Businesslife 66 She brews 70 Airdrie Made celebration


73 Park crawl 74 Awesome event 75 Role models 77 HERstory 78 Shelter 80 Girls & ice 82 Amazing Airdrie Women

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he canvasses on the walls of Suruchi Suda’s art studio in Airdrie are a mesmerizing testament to her artistry as a painter, but even more so, they express a vibrant passion for colour. “There is colour in my blood,” Suda says. “I breathe colours – it’s where I find myself.” Suda’s work is bright and joyful, and even her more subdued pieces glow with a deliberate lightness, revealing a talent that is able to fuse her unrelenting imagination with a remarkable understanding of the power of colour.

“I want to spread happiness through my art; that’s why I do all those bright colours,” says this mother of two. Stylish images of the god Ganesha repose in thin layers of brilliant acrylic; a noble elephant pauses in a field of grass, called into being with the strokes of a spatula; textured trees with a canopy of thick, red leaves shimmer in a silent wind – these are just a few of her stunning works. “Every one of them is an experiment,” she explains. “I love all art and want to explore everything.” Originally from Bhiwani, India, she credits her mother, also a talented artist, with the seeds of her passion. “It is in my blood. It is the thing that makes me happy,” Suda says, adding that even though she had sketched since childhood and won many awards in India for her artwork, she is reluctant to call herself an artist. “I’m on a journey,” she explains earnestly, “I am not where I call myself a real artist. People don’t know who Suruchi is. I’m not Picasso.” However, it is the merging of an ancient culture’s celebration of light and colour with the vast beauty of her adopted home that make her paintings unique. Even a simple copse of trees is an explosion of reds, greens and yellows, and Suda’s unabashed use of multiple techniques also adds to the mystique. She is lavish with gold and silver leaf, is unafraid of thick layers of paint to achieve an effect, works with brush or spatula, and recently

has been dabbling with an unusual tool – her fingers. A large painting of a galloping horse, its supple strength leaping from the canvas in textured strokes of whites, browns and golds, is entirely painted with her fingers. “It is not easy getting that kind of detail with just your fingers,” she laughs. As a young woman, she did not see a financial future in art, and so earned a masters in business administration instead. After her marriage in 2010, Suda took a year off from work, and it was during this “free time” that she began painting. “All my friends began to say, ‘Suruchi, you’re an artist? You do painting? Do more!”’ She painted all that year, giving her work away to “their forever homes” among friends and family. It wasn’t until the couple immigrated to Canada in 2012 and Suda was between jobs in Airdrie six years later that she found herself with more free time. She began painting again, and this time it was her Canadian friends who encouraged her to sell her art. “I said, ‘No, I can’t sell them, who would want to buy paintings by Suruchi? I do this just for fun.”’ However, Suda realized that creating art was what she wanted to do, and she and her husband decided it was time to pursue that dream. Since then, she has been devoting her time between her young family, commissions, art shows and exploring the colours of her imagination. “I love art. If I didn’t love it, maybe I wouldn’t be Suruchi anymore.” life



A New Focus A New Focus Airdrie’s Whole Health Experts Airdrie’s Whole Health Experts

By By Stacie Stacie Gaetz Gaetz

Meet Ashley and pharmacy team. Meet Ashley and thethe pharmacy team. #25 -1301 8 St SW Airdrie, ABAB #25 -1301 8 St SW Airdrie,

Sandstone Pharmacies Pharmacies Airdrie Sandstone Airdrie improves improves the the quality quality of life life of of local local residents of residents by by offering offering aaunique unique“person“personcentred” approach, approach, focusing centred” focusing on on preventative preventative and and integrated health health care. integrated care.

“I“Iam instructor and have a Masters ama apharmacist, pharmacist,yoga yoga instructor and have a Masters ininBusiness I use these skills daily with mymy BusinessAdministration. Administration. I use these skills daily with clients plan’ forfor their bodies, lives clientstotodevelop developa a‘business ‘business plan’ their bodies, lives and said Ashley. andoverall overallwellbeing,” wellbeing,” said Ashley.

“I am am working working to “I to create create aa pharmacy pharmacythat thatisisaadestination destination for much more than prescription or for much more than prescription or over-the-counter over-the-counter medications,” said medications,” said Ashley Ashley Young, Young, who who has has been beenthe the owner and pharmacy manager since November owner and pharmacy manager since November2019. 2019.

InInsummer Pharmacies Airdrie willwill open summer2020, 2020,Sandstone Sandstone Pharmacies Airdrie open ananAirdrie location of Illuminate Skin Therapies, a Airdrie location of Illuminate Skin Therapies, local a local Calgary within the pharmacy. Calgarybusiness, business, within the pharmacy.

“I have been bringing in numerous products in an “I have bringing in numerous in an effort to been focus on preventative medicineproducts and integrate effort to focus on preventative medicine and integrate the many facets of holistic health.” the many facets of holistic health.” Sandstone has an innovative “refillery” program that Sandstone hasthe an ability innovative “refillery” program that offers clients to purchase quality, organic offers clients the ability to purchase quality, organic and environmentally friendly self-care products, while and environmentally friendly self-care products, while decreasing their environmental footprint. decreasing their environmental footprint. Ashley is also the founder of Bio Balance Wellness & Ashley is also founder of Bio Balance Wellness Consulting. Biothe Balance provides individuals, groups& Consulting. Bio Balance provides individuals, groups and organizations services that include customized and services that includeoptimization customized yogaorganizations practices, supplement/medication yoga practices, supplement/medication optimization and health and wellness goal setting/programming. and health and wellness goal setting/programming.

@sandstonepharmacies-airdrie @biobalancewellness @sandstonepharmacies-airdrie @biobalancewellness


aird rielife.com


“Dermatology and the partnership with Illuminate areare great “Dermatology and the partnership with Illuminate great examples of integration of different treatment modalities. examples of integration of different treatment modalities. This way of approaching treatment can be extrapolated to This way approaching be extrapolated many otherofdiagnoses. It istreatment importantcan to focus on overall to many other diagnoses. It is important to focus on overall health and wellness from an integrated and preventative health and wellness from an integrated and preventative perspective.” said Ashley. perspective.” said Ashley. Sandstone Pharmacies Airdrie will be offering community Sandstone Pharmacies Airdrie be offering learning sessions in the spring on will a range of topics.community learning sessions in the spring on a range of topics.

@sandstonepharmaciesairdrie @think.bio.balance. @sandstonepharmaciesairdrie @think.bio.balance.

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G R E AT L I F E | M U S I C

The open mike of friendship T STORY BY WYATT TREMBLAY

hey come with instruments clasped in one hand, and dogeared binders of songs in the other, and not unlike the wandering minstrels of old, they navigate a course from pub to lounge, entertaining the weary travellers who find libation and comfort therein. Unlike the performers of old, they are members of the audience themselves who have come for the opportunity to stand before strangers and friends and, for a brief moment, become what in their hearts they know they are – entertainers. Airdrie currently has four weekly open mikes: Sorso Lounge, Legends Lounge at Smitty’s, Fitzsimmons Brewing Company, and Main Street Beer and BBQ. Each offers a space with a live microphone for musicians, poets or comedians. All that’s required is some talent and lots of courage, says Steve Jevne, a longtime host and performer at these events, and current host of the Sunday night open mike at Sorso. “We usually have 10 performers on average. The room is pretty full, sometimes people are nervous, but it’s pretty friendly,” says Jevne, whose band, As High As We Go, occasionally plays at Sorso. The format is simple, Jevne explains: come with an instrument, put your name on a rota, perform a few originals or covers, and have a beer. Some are confident regulars, while others may be anxious first-timers. “These are not their day jobs,” he says. “It’s welcoming – anyone can come up. If you don’t play an instrument but want to sing, someone will always back you up. There’s quite a community that happens.” Jevne believes Airdrie’s open mike popularity grew out of the long-running weekly event at Bambino’s Neighbourhood Pub. The pub featured a variety of local performers and drew large crowds, but, unfortunately, the pub is now closed, says Jevne. (At press time the pub is reopening as Wild Card Shack and plans to continue open mike on Mondays.)


WHERE TO FIND AN OPEN MIKE IN AIRDRIE: Sorso Lounge: Sundays, 6-9 p.m.

Legends Lounge: Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fitzsimmons Brewing Company: Saturdays, 3-6 p.m.

“All that’s required is some talent and lots of courage” 22

“A lot of people came and met a lot of people, and now they’re friends,” he says. Greg McRitchie, who with his wife Lori hosts the Thursday night open mike at the Legends Lounge in Smitty’s restaurant, agrees: “Most of us know each other and sing with each other. It’s just fun.” “We’ve been married for 40 years and have been singing together for 40 years,” laughs Lori, who is also the executive director of Airdrie Food Bank. “[Open mikes] have been a gathering place for many people in our community.” Brandon Lorenzo, an up-and-coming country artist whose debut video, Spread Some Good Time Around, is creating waves, hosts the Main Street open mike on Tuesday nights. “What I like the most is you get to hear different people. You never know who’s going to walk in,” Lorenzo says. “There are the regulars, and then there are those who just show up, sometimes from Calgary.” Al Lukiw is one of those regulars. A waterline inspector, he is a lifelong musician. When he and his wife moved to Airdrie she encouraged him to connect with local performers. “I played just once and all these people said you gotta go here or go there, and all of a sudden I was jamming every week. It’s great.” Frank Wiebe, who hosts the open mike at Fitzsimmons Brewery on Saturday afternoons, is a fan of such sessions. He plays piano with his band, which often backs up solo performers. “There’s some people who have never been on stage, but when you get around a bunch of friends, and a groovy environment, you can relax and really enjoy it.” It’s this sense of community and a friendly place to perform that Jevne says brings people to the stage. “Music is one thing, but the friendships people make is what’s happening here.” life

Main Street Beer and BBQ: Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Wild Card Shack: Mondays TBA |

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Variety, Longevity, Integrity:



hey say variety is the spice of life and with McKee Homes this is exactly what is brought to the homebuyer seeking to make their new home uniquely their own. “We are building homes that represent individual needs and stages of life,” says Heather Yates, McKee Homes sales manager. “We have a nearly endless library of home plans to consider and with the expertise of our sales team, we can skillfully guide buyers to the plan that will suit them best.” McKee’s current list of preferred plans feature upwards of 100 choices that are a mix of bungalows and two-storeys adapting to frontdrive homes, rear-lane homes, duplexes and row homes. Yates added that McKee Homes appeal to everyone from individuals looking for their first home, families on the hunt for a move-up house, couples hoping to right size for retirement and anyone searching for their dream home. “Building a home shouldn’t be just another transaction – it should be an experience,” says

Ryan Doel, McKee Homes marketing analyst and coordinator. “We encourage our customers to be continually involved in their new home – from planning to possession.” The company has been building homes in Airdrie for the past 33 years. The communities where you can find a quality crafted McKee Home include: Bayside Chinook Gate Cooper’s Crossing King’s Heights Ravenswood Lanark Landing (opening in spring 2020) Vista Crossing in Crossfield According to Yates, McKee has built approximately 20 per cent of Airdrie’s single-family homes in the past 33 years. “We live and work in Airdrie, we will see you at the grocery store, at sports games or the various rec centres,” says Yates. “We stand

behind our product and are proud of what we create together with our valued clients.” The company also generously gives back to the community that supports them. McKee Homes donates to a wide variety of local programs including clubs, charities, recreation centres, sports teams and the Building Futures Program in partnership with Rocky View School Division. “Students in their Grade 10 year learn their full curriculum in a classroom built within a garage, giving them the ability to take their textbook lessons and immediately apply it to a real-world situation,” says Yates. McKee’s latest project in Lanark Landing is in full swing. Showhomes will be opening mid2020 and the company will be offering row homes and rear-lane single-family homes. This masterfully planned Melcor community is located on the southeast corner of Airdrie. Starting price of the row homes are in the $280s and the single-family homes will start in the $350s. For more information, visit mckeehomes.com

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G R E AT L I F E | D I N I N G O U T

Emanuele and Nyla Ferraro welcome you to their restaurant



There’s something about going to a restaurant and connecting with the owners that elevates the dining experience and ensures you are going to be back. That feeling of connection is immediate when you walk into Ferraro Truly Italian restaurant, located in the Best Western Hotel on Edmonton Trail. The clean, simple and upscale decor is something you don’t see in many restaurants in Airdrie. The restaurant lives up to its reputation as Airdrie’s new date-night spot with romantic lighting and 24



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the fact that most tables are set for two. Another thing that is immediately apparent from just a glance at the menu is the fact that this is real, authentic Italian food that is made from scratch with passion, tradition and creativity. “Ferraro hospitality is in the details,” according to the website ferrarofresh.com “It is an ensemble of gestures that define a way of life. The table is where your journey begins. Chef Emanuele’s culinary cuisine is a cohesion of ideas, techniques and cultures. By staying true to Ferraro roots, our home is in our heart – we welcome you to our home!”

The menu features a great wine selection, true Italian pizzas, fresh handmade pastas and delectable antipasti. See photos of Stacie and Matt’s meal at airdrielife.com


Emanuele Ferraro and his wife Nyla opened the restaurant nine months ago. Their son, daughter and daughter’s son also work at the family-run establishment. “We use only semolina flour, which is what gives our homemade pasta the great texture and flavour that it has,” says Emanuele and Nyla’s son Dominic Saucier, who moved from Montreal last summer to help the family run the restaurant. “It is imported straight from Italy and it is why when you eat our pasta, you feel satisfied but never too full. It’s not like the heavy wheat pasta most places use.” Semolina flour is made from durum wheat and has a high gluten and protein content but don’t worry, all pastas on Ferraro’s menu can be made gluten free for $6. According to the website, perfecting the gluten-free pastas offered on the menu took Emanuele more than two years. The family also takes great pride in locally sourcing the other ingredients for their dishes including beef, chicken and mushrooms and you can taste the difference.


My husband Matt and I jumped at the chance to spend a rare kidfree date night at Ferrraro. We started with a glass each of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It was a pleasant highly aromatic red with earthy notes and hints of blackberries. Although the wine menu (which is written on a

wall-sized chalk board at the front of the restaurant along with the specials) lists only style and not wineries, we asked Dominic for his recommendation and were not let down. To start, we ordered a special called spezzatino di mignonettes, AAA beef tenderloin bites in a brandy cream sauce that were as flavourful and melt-in-your-mouth as they sound. For our mains, I tried the duo di pasta, which included baked cannelloni and mushroom ziti in a cream sauce. The cannelloni was meat-forward with a perfect combination of fresh pasta sauce and cheese, while the ziti offered an earthy and hearty flavour. Both paired wonderfully with the wine. Matt opted for the pollo Bolognese, breaded chicken breast, topped with prosciutto fior di latte, with cream sauce and vegetables. The veggies were fresh and vibrant and the chicken was tender and juicy, pairing perfectly with the salty bite of the prosciutto and creamy sauce to pull it all together. We topped it off with what Dominic promised was the “best cannoli west on Montreal” and a brandy banana flambe with gelato and, once again, our expectations were met and surpassed. Both were some of the best desserts my husband and I have had in recent memory, with the cannoli offering the perfect juxtaposition of crunch and fresh cream. The banana flambe was warm and rich and had a roast caramel flavour that made you want to lick the plate. According to the restaurant’s website, part of the Ferraro philosophy is to introduce your palate to new and exciting flavours – mission accomplished! life S P R I N G 2020




G R E AT L I F E | R E C I P E S

airdrielife is pleased to bring you inspiration from local food blogger Steph Todd Prep-Ahead Sweet Chili Chicken Bowls

SWEET CHILI SAUCE: 2 tsp olive oil 1/4 cup fine diced onion 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup maple syrup 2 tsp honey 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (1 tsp if you like things more spicy) 1 lime, juiced and zested CHICKEN INGREDIENTS: 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper to season chicken

MEAL PREP MAGIC SPRING IS HERE – let the spring sports and kids activities begin! Cue the chaos that comes with getting weeknight dinners cooked and eaten while trying to have everyone out the door to multiple activities. Enter meal planning, and a little meal prep to calm the chaos. You will be surprised at how having a weekly meal plan in place and some prep done, makes those evening dinners just a little less frenzied. Major bonus points for these recipes that can be made ahead, and eaten on the go or at a ball diamond or soccer field! For more ideas, visit Steph Todd at mealplanaddict.com 26



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BOWL INGREDIENTS: 2 cups cucumber, chopped into bite-size pieces and patted dry 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce 1 200 g package of vermicelli noodles cilantro (optional garnish) peanuts or cashews (optional garnish) Preheat the oven to 375 F. Season the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat the oil on medium-high heat in an oven-safe pan. Sear the chicken on both sides and place the pan into the oven to cook until chicken is 165 F. Then remove from oven and set aside. While the chicken bakes, prepare the sauce. In a small pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic until well caramelized and lightly browned. Take care not to burn this. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and allow to simmer on low for 3-4 minutes. Set sauce aside to cool. Once cool, divide the sauce into 4 portions in small containers. You want to store the sauce separately from your chicken and veggies. Prepare the vermicelli noodles as per the package. Then strain and set aside. To assemble your bowls, divide the chicken, veggies, and noodles evenly between 4 containers. Make sure the chicken has cooled before placing a lid on the bowls. At time of serving, drizzle the sweet chili sauce on each bowl and enjoy!

On-the-Run Asian Lettuce Wraps

INGREDIENTS 2 tsp olive oil 1 lb ground pork 1 lime, juiced and zested 2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp hot sauce 2 tsp ginger, grated 1 tsp sesame oil 4 tbsp hoisin sauce 1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced 1/2 lb red pepper, sliced 1/4 lb carrots, grated 1/4 cup green onions, cut on slant 1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, dried and cored Heat up a pan to medium-high heat and brown the ground pork with 1 tsp of olive oil until 80 per cent cooked. Add in the lime juice, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp hot sauce, 1 tsp grated ginger, 1 tsp sesame oil and 3 tbsp of the hoisin sauce. Stir and continue to brown for a few more minutes until completely cooked. Remove pork from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, with medium heat, sauté all of the vegetables (do not add lettuce) with 1 tsp olive oil. Cook until well caramelized and then add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp hot sauce, 1 tsp grated ginger and remaining tbsp of hoisin sauce. Add the cooked pork to the vegetable mix and remove from heat. Portion and serve with lettuce wraps, tortillas or rice. life

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MARCH 12-14 TORCHLIGHT SPARK – THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Polaris Centre Adapted by Jon Jory. The game’s afoot and the legendary friendship of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is born, as they face a quartet of the most confounding crimes to ever cross the threshold of 221B Baker Street. Discover the truth about the surprising secret within an abandoned Christmas goose; the meaning of a coded message from an organization obsessed with the past; the danger that sends family playing cards to madness; and the web of conspiracy surrounding a governess in an isolated country house. Based on four classic short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a thrilling reminder of why Sherlock Holmes remains eternal. Thursday, Friday 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 2 p.m. Tickets at showpass.com MARCH 13 THE HEEBEE JEEBEES Bert Church Theatre The Heebee-jeebees are an internationally acclaimed, award-winning, comic a cappella group born and raised in Calgary. Having celebrated more than 25 years together, they have released eight CDs and won three international CARA awards – the Grammys of a cappella. The Heebee-jeebees have sung thousands of live performances and have appeared on local, national and international radio and television. The group has a reputation for being hilarious, entertaining and extremely talented. They are the most fun you’ve ever heard! 7:30 p.m. Tickets $28.50 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca MARCH 14 WAXING POETIC: OPEN MIKE NIGHT Airdrie Public Library Local talent of all ages are invited to come share their poetry with the community or help support others. All are welcomed but be aware this is uncensored content. Refreshments provided. Note: performers will sign up when they arrive; if more than 15 performers, names will be drawn. 7 p.m. Contact Chantal at programs@airdriepubliclibrary.ca with any questions.




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MARCH 22 BILLY MCGUIGAN’S ROCK LEGENDS Bert Church Theatre Want a rock concert customized just for you? Rock Legends have cracked the code with a musical personality test audience members take before the show. From this, they design a one-of-its-kind show with timeless songs from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s – from American rock to British Invasion to one-hit wonders and more! It all depends on you! Prepare to be blown away by this epic night of rock and roll. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $44 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca MARCH 27 SHOWCASE CONCERT – AIRDRIE PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL Bert Church Theatre The culmination of exceptional talent from the Airdrie Performing Arts Festival is open to anyone who loves live performances by youth. 7 p.m. MARCH 28 COMEDY AT THE BERT Bert Church Theatre Airdrie Children’s Festival is proud to present the second annual Comedy at the Bert! Enjoy some gut-busting laughs with hilarious headliners Tim Nutt and Charles Haycock. Includes free appies and a No-Host Bar. All proceeds go to Airdrie Children’s Festival, a FREE event for kids at Nose Creek Park May 30 and 31. Tickets $50 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca MARCH 31 POWER OF ART The Store Upstairs The 10 curated artworks by area female artists are unveiled at The Store Upstairs. Meet the artists, enjoy a spring fashion show and shop from 6-9 p.m. as 10 per cent of all fashion sales go to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. The artwork will be on display until April 29 and silent auction bids accepted on location. (Fifty per cent of the art proceeds go to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.). The final auction bids will take place April 30 at the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards. More info at airdrielife.com

APRIL 4 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. The Prairie Mountain Fiddlers play for the people and for their love of music. It is all about good old-fashioned fun! 2:30 p.m. Tickets $16 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca APRIL 18 DUFFLEBAG THEATRE: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Bert Church Theatre This story, loved by so many, is a tale as old as time! Though we know the story we are left wondering whether the Beast will learn his lesson and redeem himself before it’s too late. DuffleBag’s adaptation of this timeless classic is guaranteed to ring a Belle! 2 p.m. Tickets $25.50 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca APRIL 19 THE POPOVICH MULTI-MEDIA EXPERIENCE Town and Country Centre A two-hour variety show of classic rock ‘n’ roll and country hits. Tasteful comedy and audience interaction. 2 p.m. Tickets $20 at airdrieover50club.ca APRIL 25-26 AIRDRIE HOME & LIFESTYLE SHOW Genesis Place An excellent way to connect with your community and explore home and lifestyle solutions. Shop, compare, try and buy. Organizers are excited to have the money tunnel returning this year, as well as attractions: attendee bingo, the photo booth, two onsite food trucks, an onstage fashion show and EJ Rescue showcasing some of their dogs available for fostering or adoption! Admission is $5; free for children 12 and under. APRIL 25-26 ARTS SPRING SHOW & SALE Genesis Place Gym Airdrie Regional Arts Society (ARTS) is back with their popular art show and sale in the Genesis Place gym during the Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show. Meet area artists and discover a new piece to brighten up your home for spring.

APRIL 30 AMAZING AIRDRIE WOMEN AWARDS Bert Church Theatre Join Airdrie’s amazing community of women in celebration of the 10th annual Amazing Airdrie Women Awards. A gala evening of wine, women, live jazz performance by Deanne Matley and amazing dessert and prosecco reception. $35 at thebertchurchtheatre/com/buytickets APRIL 30-MAY 9 TORCHLIGHT THEATRE PRESENTS THE RAINMAKER Polaris Centre Plain Lizzie Curry finds herself falling, against her better judgment, for a traveller who promises to bring rain to her family’s ever-dry Texas town. Evenings 7:30 p.m.; Saturday matinee 2 p.m. Tickets at showpass.com MAY 1 LOUISIANA HAYRIDE Bert Church Theatre Join the fun and help the lovable cast of the Louisiana Hayride Show celebrate 10 years of touring across Western Canada! You’ll hear the best country and rockabilly hits from the ‘50s, ’60s and ‘70s as they pay tribute to the historical radio program, The Louisiana Hayride, with past favourites and new classics! You’ll think you’re at their concert when you see Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty step on stage to perform for you! You’ll be singing along to hits such as Hound Dog, I Walk the Line, Hey Porter, Pretty Woman, Peggy Sue, That’ll Be the Day, Whole Lotta Shakin and so much more! Also featured in this amazing show is a tribute to Shania Twain. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $51 at tpro.ticketpro.ca MAY 21-23 NOSE CREEK PLAYERS PRESENT ALICE IN WONDERLAND Bert Church Theatre With her keenly perceptive eye, Mrs. Chorpenning has adapted this famous story for very young audiences. Chasing the White Rabbit, Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. She meets all its famous residents: the King of Hearts, Red Queen, White Queen, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Gryphon, Mock Turtle, the Dormouse, Mad Hatter and March Hare, the Frog Footman, the Duchess, the Caterpillar and White Rabbit. Thursday, Friday 7 p.m.; Saturday 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets $14 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca

Choose Local. Choose Exceptional. e st. 1983





The most amazing night in Airdrie


Thursday, April 30 6:30 p.m. TICKETS $35 ONLINE ONLY: THEBERTCHURCHTHEATRE.COM/BUYTICKETS $5 from every ticket sold goes to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.

A i r d r i e H o m e & L i fe s t y l e S h o w

April 25 & 26, 2020

Genesis Place Airdrie

Saturday, April 25th 9 am to 5 pm Sunday, April 26th 10 am to 4 pm

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MAY 30-31 AIRDRIE CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL NOSE CREEK PARK Inspired by a five-year-old’s question “who looks after the animals” after a trip to the Calgary Zoo, Airdrie Children’s Festival Society (ACFS) founder Pete Lewis felt compelled to create a community-wide event to answer this and other great questions. With the help of the inaugural board and a vision “to enrich the lives of children and celebrate our cultural diversity, “the annual Airdrie Children’s Festival was born. Going into its third year, with the 2020 festival set for May 30 and 31, 2020 at Nose Creek Park in Airdrie, the event and its activities are designed to create curiosity, inspire creativity and remove fear. Wanting to remove barriers to participation, the ACFS has as one of its guiding principles that the festival must remain free for all to attend. “Let kids just be kids,” says Lewis. Kids and families are constantly bombarded with buy this or that so this is the one time that they can come out and be free from that. With more than 6,000 visitors last year, the 2020 festival will be even better. The Inspiration Stations are the base for the festival. These hands-on, accelerated learning centres, hosted by businesses and organizations in the Calgary region, allow kids the chance to see, feel and learn about stuff they might not otherwise. Things like, who looks after the animals at the Calgary Zoo? Citywide workshops create windows into what could be possible, where kids have the chance to do things like work on cars with mechanics, write short stories with published authors, or go on-air with a local radio station. The Children’s Village is the uber play centre that consists of a variety of mazes, inflatables, and games that challenge kids’ minds, but are disguised as FUN. Even the Shilo Storey, RE/MAX First Entertainment Stage is packed with performers who believe it is important to teach kids to be confident, to respect themselves and others, to love the environment around them and to dream BIG. Expect big fun and big laughs from CBC Kids TV and Juno Award nominees Will’s Jams, returnee Smilin’ Rylan and The Joe Show in 2020. More details at facebook.com/AirdrieChildrensFestival/


Bert Church LIVE Theatre

looks ahead to 2020-21 Season Airdrie’s Performing Arts Experience

The 2019/20 season continues to impress with acts like the Heebee-jeebees


he Bert Church LIVE Theatre (BCLT) is well underway in planning its upcoming 2020/2021 season. Each year, BCLT strives to bring a wide range of entertainment to Airdrie that features something for all ages. “Situated in a city with a wide demographic of citizens, it is important to offer something for everyone where people can enjoy great entertainment that is only a short drive away,” says Chris Stockton, artistic producer at The Bert Church LIVE Theatre. Stockton is anxious to let people know what’s in store for 2020/2021. “I am so excited for Airdrie to hear what we have planned for our upcoming season — all connecting to the theme “A Long Time Ago … Far, Far Away.” When asked what his vision is for the future of the BCLT, Stockton says, “My vision comes down to two words: engage and entertain. We want to engage with all citizens of Airdrie from age one to 101, whether it’s through a dance recital, our arts programs or our upcoming shows in our Presenting Series — we want everyone in Airdrie to feel a connection with BCLT as a place that not only presents incredible shows but welcomes everyone to come along for the ride and be a part of the magic we offer.” Although the season’s shows haven’t officially been announced, Stockton says, “You are going to see a blend of new acts that Airdrie has never seen before, alongside performances that have resonated with our audiences in the past. Whether you are looking for a date night filled with great music, a piece of theatre for the whole family or to enjoy or an interactive performance experience, you will not be disappointed!” Before you jump ahead to what’s on the horizon for BCLT there are still plenty of great shows coming to Airdrie including: Calgary-based a cappella group The Heebee-jeebees; Billy McGuigan’s Rock Legends (where the audience chooses what they want to hear); Airdrie’s own Prairie Mountain Fiddlers; Dufflebag Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast; and the Nose Creek Players present Alice in Wonderland. You can learn more and get tickets at bclt.ca life

Billy McGuigan’s

Rock Legends MARCH 22

Prairie Mountain Fiddlers APRIL 4

Dufflebag Theatre

Beauty and the Beast APRIL 18

Lewis Carroll’s

Alice in Wonderland Presented by Nose Creek Players

MAY 21-23

bclt.ca S P R I N G 2020


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See these legends come to life before your eyes! patsy cline, roy orbison, elvis, shania twain, jerry lee lewis.

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johnny cash and the tennesse two & Buddy Holly Also featuring tributes to Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, Crystal Gayle, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and more! Buy your tickets now! Ticketpro 1-888-655-9090 find us on facebook www.hayrideshow.com


FEATURE EXHIBITS History of Sport until April 15

Amazing Airdrie Women until June 15 Coming in May:

Haunted Alberta

Book Online at SMARTAUTO.CA

and save $10


Peace of Mind Vehicle Inspection with Oil Change $89.95 PROUDLY SERVING AIRDRIE SINCE 1989 | 3-YEAR, 60,000 KM WARRANTY

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aura Brauer is on a roll. She won the 2019 airdrielife Fitness Challenge and one of her rewards was a makeover. Boy, did she win again! From a whole new ’do and glasses to some trendy new clothes Laura was transformed for 2020. At Envy Salon, since Laura’s hair was very damaged with split ends, stylist Alicia first had Laura do some homework – receiving a strengthening and moisturizing conditioning treatment and using products at home to improve the health of her hair. Once her hair was prepared to accept a colour application, Laura’s colour was created from Envy’s Calura colour line, a Canadian-made product which is PPD free, has no ammonia and contains certified organic oils. ColorProof SuperRich carcinogenic-free shampoo and conditioner were used after the colour service. These products are full of essential oils to lock in moisture, prevent colour fading and do not weigh down the hair. Once Laura’s hair was coloured to a redbrown tone that complemented her skin tone, Alicia shaped her hair to frame her face.  Because her hair is on the finer and more delicate spectrum, releasing some of the weight meant Laura’s hair immediately looked fuller. Careful layering was created to ensure her hair was not left limp, but created volume. Then she was shown how to enhance her curl and place it to, once again, create fullness. Alicia then helped Laura with a light and natural makeup application for the photo shoot.


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Styling products were essential to support the look. Living Proof Full Thickening Cream, Volume Blast and Flex Hairspray were used. These products do not leave the hair feeling coated with product since they are created to work from the inside out supporting the hair from within. Laura was thrilled with the results. “Alicia was absolutely amazing. Thank you, Alicia, I still receive many compliments on my hair!” Hilary at Airdrie Eyecare Centre was Laura’s next style guide and helped our winner chose new frames by Marc Jacobs. This frame looked amazing with her skin tone and new hair colour. “We found a pair of glasses in just five minutes! She had me try several pairs that I would have never probably look at and the pair that I ended up picking up just suit me so well! I LOVE these glasses; I also receive a lot of compliments on these glasses,” Laura says. For the photo shoot Hilary also selected a pair of Kate Spades for their versatility and a pair of Tom Fords for how classy they looked. Wardrobe was next. “Allison at ZIVA & EM Boutique is so talented! She took one look at me and knew what size I was. Allison had several outfits for me to try and they all fit the first time. This is huge as I have always disliked clothing shopping as nothing ever fit me properly! Her store is absolutely amazing and I absolutely love the three outfits we decided on in the end.” For the photo shoot, Allison chose pieces that are on trend and very flattering for Laura. “Animal print is huge once again for spring, and we couldn’t be happier! The leopard prints allows you to mix and match colours and textures, and help pull it all together. “Florals never go out of style. This top’s floral pattern complements the flowy nature of the top and hemline perfectly. Florals are super versatile in that the various colours help to draw attention to your natural features by pulling the colours, while adding an element of interest to your look.” We love this great bold coloured V-neck top! Sometimes a great hue can make a statement all on its own and the deep V helps to elongate your body, making you look slimmer and taller. life 34



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Dermaplaning and skin basics We asked esthetician and skin expert Aleasha Ewert at Byoode Bar to explain the procedure and benefits.

What is dermaplaning?

A gentle, effective physical exfoliant. I use a medical scalpel to get close contact with the surface of the skin.

What are the benefits?

•Physically removes the dead built-up skin cells; •Instantly gives you a healthy, glowing complexion; •Removes vellus hair (peach fuzz) gently with out causing irritation like traditional methods of hair removal; •Helps with product absorption deep into the skin cells.

Airdrie’s shopping scene just got a makeover

When combining dermaplaning with any other facial treatment it will double the exfoliant process and intensify anything applied afterward.

Visit our new Boutique, In Cooperstown Promenade




Who is it good for?

Most people can receive dermaplaning. The only skin conditions I would avoid would be: •Grade 3 & 4 acne where there are a lot of pustules and irritated open skin; •Someone with very thin skin/rosacea (more aggravated).


Why dermaplane?

Most of us don’t exfoliate enough and our skin slows down the cell renewal process after the age of 30. Staying on top of sloughing the dead skin off the surface helps regulate cell turn over, allows better product absorption, smooths the surface and reduces superficial fine lines. We all need a little help in keeping our skin happy and healthy.


What are your must-haves for the start of healthy skin? •Cleanser that keeps the natural moisture barrier intact and never over dries; •Proper moisturizer for your skin type; •Exfoliant for your skin needs; •SPF all year round (protects against the breakdown of our tissue due to exposure, lessens hyperpigmentation, and helps protect against skin cancers)

The Hair Lounge TheHairLoungeAirdrie.com

113 1st St. NW 403-980-2820 S P R I N G 2020





Pants & skirts top trends

“At Seven Saints we love that pants are having such a moment this season,” says Erin Hardy, co-owner of the trendy shop in Cooper’s Town Promenade. “I would encourage you to change up the denim rut and spice up your outfit. Try a solid pair, either a pullon or cargo, or a pattern. The higher waist is also very on trend; it’s a super-flattering, feminine fit. They can be super versatile. For a dressier look you can easily pair them with a nice button-down top and heels for the office, or a cami and blazer for an evening out. Or, wear them casual with some sneakers and a sweater, and as it gets warmer you can pull out the slides and a tee.” Another trend that has had a huge comeback and is not going anywhere is the skirt. Whether it’s a midi skirt, which we love for its body-skimming, ultra-feminine appeal, or a longer maxi skirt, known for its effortless-chic comfort, there are tons of styling options from which to choose. Like the pants, the skirt can also be both dressed up, whether that’s pairing it with a slinky cami, or tucking in a crisp white shirt and adding heeled sandals and statement earrings, but also dressed down (and for sure one of our favourite options) like pairing it with sneakers and a casual graphic tee. 


ermanent makeup (PMU), also known as micropigmentation/cosmetic tattooing, has become tremendously popular due to the natural-looking results achieved and the time it saves from applying makeup daily.  

We asked Jennifer Koenig, a trained PMU artist and owner of PMU by Jennifer King, a home based studio, to tell us more.

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Color pigments/ink are placed just below the dermal layer of the skin for the purpose of creating definition to enhance a client’s natural beauty on their eyebrows and lips. This service is custom designed for each client according to their face shape, skin tone, eye colour, hair colour and skin type. PMU is applied using disposable blades/needles and is considered permanent because it cannot be washed off. Periodic maintenance is required to ensure “freshness.”

Who is PMU for?

PMU is popular for both men and women of all ages. It’s perfect for anyone that

cannot wear traditional makeup due to allergies or skin sensitivities, for active people who worry about sweating it off, and for professionals who don’t have time to re-apply makeup throughout their busy days. It benefits anyone who cannot apply makeup or that has suffered hair loss from illness/a medical condition.

Is it safe?

You want to ensure your artist is trained and certified, fully licensed, insured and has been inspected and approved by AHS, which means they have met and exceeded all requirements for aesthetic and tattoo services. It’s also recommended to choose an artist that is certified in bloodborne pathogens. Never hesitate to ask questions or ask for credentials!  


What is permanent makeup (PMU)?




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Cupping, Therapeutic, Pre/Post Natal, Cranio Sacral, Hot Stone, Holistic Manual Therapy, Lymph Drainage, 5th Year Student of Osteopathic Manual Therapy (Amy)

Dawnie McElligott RMT/Owner Relocating May 2020 to 520-1Ave, Airdrie. Right across the street from Airdrie’s Historical Water Tower

dawnie@atdawnwellness.ca 403-809-9428 atdawnwellnesscenter.janeapp.com #4 Jensen Heights Court

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All outfits shown from The Store Upstairs


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Spring fashion news W

armer weather ahead means hot new trends this spring in the forms of crochet, denim, tiers and polka dots – just to name a few. We are seeing plenty of wearable trends from the disco collar to ’60s wallpaper patterns (lots of geometry and floral) strutting their stuff down the fashion runways for spring. Hot pants have made their way out of the closet for a “Daisy Duke-esque” blast from the past. If short shorts aren’t your style, a cropped pant or Bermuda short is a great compromise. Let your “tiers” fall this spring with the multi-layered look. This hot new trend is easily styled up or down, with different layering pieces. Casual? Add a denim jacket! Want to elevate the look? A stunning necklace and earrings will help! Denim – denim – denim. It sounds like a certain theme song that scares us out of the water, but this Canadian classic should always be a part of your wardrobe. Jeans, or a jean jacket – these versatile pieces can be used in various ways that will suit a day in the office or a weekend trip to the mountains. Be bold! Add denim to denim and rock the “Canadian Tuxedo” look this spring. Is there anything more luxurious than satin? We don’t think so. The soft sheen of satin can be seen predominantly in skirts this season. Long and flowing, satin skirts can be seen paired with a denim top, or jacket, to add an unusual but fun juxtaposition. Go bold this spring and find a way to incorporate these hot trends into your wardrobe! Brandon Chaisson, manager, The Store Upstairs


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•401- 401 Coopers Blvd SW •mezzaninehair.com



Balayage and the return of the ’80s It’s time for our fabulous selves to say, “Oh hey new hair.” It’s a new year (and new decade) and that brings a whole host of new hairstyles and hair trends just waiting to be experimented with. The ’70s and ’80s ARE BACK … curtain bangs are hot right now especially complemented by a high pony or messy bun. Also back are the scrunchie, braids and ’80s hair combs, just to name a few. I wish I would have kept all of my hair accessories growing up! What goes around comes back around all the time in fashion. Going strong in the trend of colour is the lived-in balayage look. Balayage, also known as hair painting, creates a soft natural highlight. It may cost a bit more initially, but the low-maintenance colour placement lasts longer than your traditional highlight.  Blondes are loving the rooty look. The nice thing about this is we can do a natural shadow root or a fashion colour to change things up a bit. Billie Eilish is setting a trend of a strong fashion colour at the root. Another top trend in hair is bright bold colours; not for everyone, but people today are rocking the fashion colours, whether it be pink, green, blue, orange or yellow. Some are creating pops of colour in the hair with foils or colouring their roots a fashion colour, melting it into a full colour or dipping their ends. Trends are what you make them. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your clothes, hair and makeup and have fun with it. Your hair is your accessory, so rock your looks, ladies.

Bag a great deal. 200+ stores and designer outlets. Visit crossironmills.com for details.

Wendy Bates, The Hair Lounge CIM Ad_Airdrie Life_2020 Spring_4.75x7.25.indd 1

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1-31-20 11:59:38 AM airdrielife.com





This year our three contestants each had their own reasons for participating and each one had incredible experiences that we have to share with our readers. Their inspired attitudes should make even the most dedicated couch potato want to get up and move! Our special thanks to the team at Orangetheory Fitness and Simply for Life for giving our contestants 12 weeks on the road to a whole new lifestyle!


THE WINNER: DONNA KITSCH Tell us how you feel overall I am feeling great overall. I’m really enjoying the extra pep in my step as I have more energy, and I got to get some new clothes with the weight loss and inches! Seeing my success so far really has me motivated to continue on and strive to the next goal. I feel healthier by the day and feel able to push myself a bit more with each workout. What challenges were the hardest? Overcoming anxiety around working out. Some days at the start I felt as if I couldn’t catch my breath. I was so worried of making a fool out of myself. Very near the start of the challenge I did fall off the treadmill, but I got right back up! And guess what? I was OK and really was worried for no reason! All the Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) coaches have been so encouraging and giving tips along the way. (Looking at) some of the equipment at the start I thought there was no


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way at my size I could do it but I did try and did my best. Now I get excited for those days of the Bosu and mini bands! What are you most proud of? My commitment to myself. In the past I feel I did well for a few weeks and then just sort of convinced myself with excuses to not continue on. I actually miss Orangetheory when I take my rest days now!  I am proud of getting to all the workouts I planned on, and taking it all one day at a time. Meal by meal, following the plan and not stressing about it all.  What you are planning to do next? I have already signed up with Orangetheory as a member. (They are stuck with me now!) I want to continue my focus of four to five days a week working out. I want to continue on with pushing myself to move past being a power walker to a jogger! I‘m looking forward to get back to doing some 5 Ks in 2020.  

What parts did you enjoy the most? Meeting new people, and learning tips and tricks on maximizing work efforts in the workouts I attended. I used to always hold onto the bar on the treadmill and had no idea doing that lowered the impact benefit of the workout by 30 per cent. I haven’t held on since I got that info!   What did you learn about yourself, about fitness, about diet? I am into a good routine of meal planning and want to keep making sure to have time planned to prep. I have found tracking all progress, a food journal, measurements, the scale and paying attention to how I am feeling all play a bigger role than I thought in the overall motivation. Where one part doesn’t seem to progress, other parts are. I also learned that measuring out portions and using a kitchen scale is a HUGE help. It really helps to see what I was eye balling in the past being way too big of a portion. I now have a kitchen scale as a permanent fixture in my day-to day-planning.

Find the Perfect Gift for Mom in Midtown! Spoil Mom with the perfect gift from one of our 10 popup shops! Scentsy, flowers, jewerly, skincare and more!

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LOST 14 lbs & 12”

LOST 27.2 lbs & 14”

I feel amazeballs. So good. People notice and comment. I know I didn’t have as much weight or inches to lose as the other two ladies, but it was important to me to reach 15 pounds – and I did. Seventeen pounds and 10.5” lost. I’m even down another pound since weigh-in! I am half a pound away from being in the 140s (the high 140s, but still 140s). The hardest challenge for me was Coach Lisa pushing me to be a jogger from a power walker but I wasn’t getting the splat points from walking anymore. So the first day I ran, I got 44 splats! I thought I was going to die but man did it feel good. I have been a jogger ever since. Who knew this 56-year-old Gammy of three grandchildren would be a jogger! I am currently working out four times a week at home (have a treadmill and elliptical) as we just had a grandson born and need to be available for help right now. I know I have it in me to continue this journey (and get in the 140s). I am super proud of myself and what I accomplished in those 12 weeks. I never missed a class – and having OTF

LOST 17 lbs & 10.5”

DONNA KITSCH: 320.8 lbs Chest: 49” Waist: 46” Hips: 56.5” Arms: 18.5” Thighs: 30.5” Calves: 25.5”

JAMIE KELLY: 151.8 lbs Chest: 40” Waist: 30” Hips: 38” Arms: 11” Thighs: 19.5” Calves: 14.25”

making us accountable for them really helps. My diet has changed – no snacking, proper meal prep is a must. I have to do that; it’s a very key part of my diet. Going forward, health and diet need to be a priority. I like this healthy, happy body I have going on. Thank you so much for the opportunity – I truly appreciate it.

bound or back slide and that is awesome for me. My blood sugar has normalized and I am no longer considered diabetic! My fasting blood sugar at the beginning of this challenge was over 13 which is dangerously high. My A1C was over 10. While I have not yet had the chance to repeat the A1C my daily fasting blood sugar is now in the range of 5.5 to 7. It has been nearly cut in half! I have my health back. This challenge got me to focus on my diet and gaining back my health and staying off of medications is priceless! I am officially a runner! This is so exciting to me I can’t even tell you! I set this goal from the beginning of the challenge. I have been a member at Orangetheory since early 2018 and have always been a power walker. At the midpoint of this challenge I was getting closer to my goal, running my all outs and pushes but could not seem to graduate my base above a walking recovery. Deanna knew how important this goal was to me and helped me to tweak some things and before you know it I was running for 20 minutes nonstop! Every class I would go and

TINA PARSONS: 265 lbs Chest: 45” Waist: 41.5” Hips: 54” Arms: 17” Thighs: 31” Calves: 18”



TINA PARSONS I lost 14 pounds – I’m not going to lie; I struggled with my mindset a little over this. I have a lot to lose and I had high expectations about how much weight I could potentially lose in 12 weeks. Once the challenge was over a friend asked me if I was happy with my results. I’ve given this some thought and the answer is absolutely YES! I lost five per cent of my original body weight. That is an average of more than one pound per week which is a healthy rate of weight loss. This is a marathon not a sprint so how could I not be thrilled with this result! Plus – I never gave up or got discouraged like I have in the past. My final weigh-in was the lowest weight I achieved at any point during the challenge so I didn’t re-

“Seeing my success so far really has me motivated to continue on and strive to the next goal. I feel healthier by the day and feel able to push myself a bit more with each workout.” 42



S P R I N G 2020

it was more advanced and longer runs and I didn’t think I could do it – but every time I pushed and found out that I was capable of so much more that I thought I was. For the first time in my life I feel like an athlete and I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish next! I haven’t power-walked a class since I ran that first one. I AM A RUNNER! Ya baby! Ten thousand squats in 2019! On the day this challenge started in September I started a challenge with my daughter for some extra motivation. We decided we were going to do 10,000 squats by the end of the year. I haven’t missed a day and we hit that 10,000 milestone on New Year’s Eve. I even recruited Deanna and last year’s challenge winner Laura to join me so now we are a team of four. And I’m already working on setting up next year’s challenge. Pushups? Burpees? The sky is the limit. I lost 12 inches! I lost 3.5 inches off my waist, 4 inches off my hips, an inch off each thigh, and losses everywhere except a .5 inch gain on each calf. The amount of inches lost and the way my clothes are fitting now tells me that while I was losing fat I was also gaining muscle as my body composition is changing. Another reason I am not fazed by the number on the scale.  The bottom line is this. This challenge has been life-changing for me. I made major improvements to my health and fitness levels and I am so motivated to do more and do better! Now that I am a runner there is no turning back. Next it’s about increasing my base pace and running faster and lifting heavier! Deanna has been the most amazing coach and friend and I can honestly say that without her support and guidance I would not have met my running goal and would still be walking. And her joining my squats challenge shows her dedication to her clients and her craft. Tricia from OTF has also been incredible. I love these ladies and I love OTF. No matter who wins this challenge we are all winners in my books. It has been wonderful to get to know these ladies and see their success. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I will never forget it and will continue to build upon my successes here far into the future.  life



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n my early ‘20s, I didn’t want kids. After losing my mom to breast cancer at a young age, I was terrified the same would happen to me. However, once I married an incredible man, it became clear that we wanted to share our love with a family. I realized instead of being scared to leave my kids like my mom, I should aim to become the incredibly strong, loving, devoted mother she was to me. So, we started trying, but six months went by, and then a year and then two…. Being told we may never have children was like being punched in the stomach. I’ve never had such a powerful, visceral reaction to something in my life. We had a two per cent chance of getting pregnant naturally. Two per cent – that number followed me around, taunted me, shattered my dreams. Having a child had consumed my thoughts. I attended baby showers, signed cards of congratulations for co-workers, oohed and awed at friends’ bundles of joy and I was genuinely happy for them, but I was also concealing my own inner turmoil. I was a mother without a child. There was good news: the form of infertility we experienced has a high success rate with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) in vitro fertilization (IVF). After dozens of invasive tests, countless procedures, exhaustive doctors’ appointments, multiple daily injections, a seemingly endless protocol of oral and nasal medications, and thousands of dollars, we were finally pregnant!

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Nine months later, we had a beautiful baby girl and two years later, we had a bouncing baby boy (using a frozen embryo). Of course, it was all worth it for us and we truly are lucky because both of our children were conceived on the first round. Many people are not so lucky, others simply can’t afford the thousands of dollars it costs to conceive children this way (IVF is not covered by the government). But there is hope – Generations of Hope (GOH) Fertility Assistance Fund – a non-profit organization dedicated to giving families the ability to have children.

587 254 5799



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“Being told we may never have children was like being punched in the stomach. I’ve never had such a powerful, visceral reaction to something in my life.” GOH’s main fundraiser, a gala called The Images of Hope (IOH), takes place at Hudson in Calgary on May 2 and is an exhibition featuring photographs and stories of IVF-conceived children. The event features a catered dinner with games, entertainment and silent and live auctions. It’s a wonderful way to help make a family a reality because everyone deserves the chance to have a child of their own. Tickets can be purchased at imagesofhopegala.ca life

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G R E AT L I F E | S E N I O R S

Airdrie Public Library also for the kids at heart CHECK √ YOUR HEARING YES



Do people seem to mumble or speak in softer voices than they used to? Do you feel tired or irritable after a long conversation? Do you miss key words or ask people to repeat themselves? When you are in a group or a crowded restaurant is it hard for you to follow the conversation? Do you often need to turn the volume up on the tv or radio?


Do you find it difficult to hear the doorbell or the telephone ring?


If you answered YES to any of these questions you might be experiencing some hearing loss and should have your hearing evaluated.

Proven Hearing Care from experienced providers. Locally Owned & Operated

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S P R I N G 2020

top by Airdrie Public Library (APL), and you’ll quickly realize that parents and children love it there. On average, more than 650 people visit every day, with a good portion of those ranging in age from birth to eight. As such, there are a lot of programs for kids, but APL isn’t just about the little people and their patient caregivers; they also have a broad range of services and programs for the older folk. Their adult/senior programs are designed to promote lifelong learning, whether it be a new skill or language. As studies have shown, learning anything new encourages brain health and contributes to keeping dementia at bay, and APL is committed to lifelong learning. One of the programs, Senior Coffee & Conversation, promotes this philosophy. A monthly drop-in, this gathering has become a focal point for Airdrie’s seniors to make new friends and to share and learn new things. APL also has Community Wellness programs, which are sponsored by Highland Primary Care Networks, Community Links, Addiction and Mental Health, and Alberta Health Services and address everything from diabetes and blood pressure management to sleeping well and remaining positive.

“APL is committed to lifelong learning” APL also hosts financial management programs offered by the Credit Counselling Society that provide insight into a variety of topics including RRSPs, preparing for retirement and how to avoid being a victim of fraud. Of course, adults, no matter where they are on the age scale, like to have fun. So, there are programs such as Adult Craft Nights where you learn from a skilled crafter how to make a variety of fun and useful items. Adult Games Nights, which have been running for almost two years, have become a great place to play Connect 4, Jenga, card games, and much more, while building new friendships. ART Saturdays feature local artists who are hands on with participants in teaching various techniques, from watercolours to sketching. One-to-One Technology Help is a program where you book a 45-minute session designed to answer basic computer literacy questions. Local author Nancy Bell’s long-running Writers Workshop class will walk you through the various steps in the writing process, and the popular APL Author Series introduces you to the world of creative writing and provides opportunities to engage with published Alberta authors. Then there are the clubs, which include adult books clubs; an adult writers club; chess, board game, and scrabble clubs; a knitters club; and the genealogy club. There’s something for everyone at APL. life

Fun for the 55+ crowd this spring MARCH 13, APRIL 17 SENIORS COFFEE AND CONVERSATION Airdrie Public Library Drop in and join fellow senior community members every second Friday of the month for coffee, treats and informal conversation on interests and local events. Relax, meet new people in your community, gain insight and enjoy the company. 2-3 p.m. ADULT SCRABBLE CLUB Airdrie Public Library Tuesdays, 7 p.m. ADULT WRITER’S GROUP Airdrie Public Library Wednesdays, 7 p.m. ADULT CHESS CLUB Airdrie Public Library Thursdays 6:30 p.m. KNITTERS’ GROUP Airdrie Public Library Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.


APRIL 4 PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN FIDDLERS Bert Church Theatre Back by popular demand! A foot-stomping, toe-tapping afternoon full of good old-time fiddle music. The Prairie Mountain Fiddlers play for the people and for their love of music. It is all about good old-fashioned fun! 2:30 p.m. Tickets $16 at tprobct.ticketpro.ca APRIL 19 THE POPOVICH MULTI-MEDIA EXPERIENCE Town and Country Centre A two-hour variety show of classic rock ‘n’ roll and country hits. Tasteful comedy and audience interaction. 2 p.m. Tickets $20 at airdrieover50club.ca MAY 1 LOUISIANA HAYRIDE Bert Church Theatre Join the fun and help the lovable cast of the Louisiana Hayride Show celebrate 10 years of touring across Western Canada! You’ll hear the best country and rockabilly hits from the ‘50s, ’60s and ‘70s as they pay tribute to the historical radio program, The Louisiana Hayride, with past favourites and new classics! 7:30 p.m. Tickets $51 at tpro.ticketpro.ca

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P E R M I T S 54 | R I G H T S I Z I N G 5 8



“There will be a wide range of product type and price ranges to meet the needs of all households”



hether you’re gaining square footage or downsizing, you’ll be levelling up in Lanark Landing. Located just 10 minutes from Calgary in the southeast corner of Airdrie (south of Ravenswood and east of King’s Heights), Lanark Landing is a welcoming community with something for everyone. The neighbourhood has been carefully designed to appeal to people in all stages of life. The first phase will cater to downsizers and first-time homebuyers with a large selection of townhomes, semi-detached and laned single-family starter homes. “There will be a wide range of product type and price ranges to meet the needs of all households – first-time homebuyers, growing families, estates and empty nesters/downsizers,” says Brent O’Neill, assistant development manager for Melcor Developments Ltd. “Of all new communities in Airdrie, Lanark has the most efficient access to downtown Calgary, the airport and CrossIron Mills.”


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STYLE Lanark Landing has a unique set of architectural controls, which will establish a mid-century architectural style, including modern-farmhouse and brownstone-inspired townhomes. “Lanark has a comprehensive set of guidelines throughout the community to ensure the streetscape is a picture-perfect portrait of the vision,” according to the Douglas Homes website. “It will include landscaping elements, attractive identifiable gateways and signage that contribute to making an attractive neighbourhood entrance point. It will provide consistent decorative fencing, paving, masonry features, lighting and diverse plants to really pull the community together.”

AMENITIES Like Airdrie, the community gets its name from Scottish roots. In the Gaelic tongue, Lanark means a clear space or glade. With that in mind, Lanark was designed with a retention of environmental features, innovative storm





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BUILDERS The builders for the community are Homes by Avi, McKee Homes, Sterling Homes (Pacesetter) and Douglas Homes. “We like to use builders that can excel within their specific product type and who are tied to the community of Airdrie as a whole,” says O’Neill. “Douglas Homes, Homes by Avi and Pacesetter are not available in any other Airdrie community, which offers prospective buyers something different and unique compared to what builders can offer in other communities.” The neighbourhood is currently in phase one of construction with undergrounds and roads built. Most showhomes are currently under construction. “The showhome parade will be fully opening in spring 2020,” says O’Neill. “All four builders are now preselling and Homes by Avi’s showhomes opened in February 2020.” life




Residential & Commercial airdriealarm.ca



water management and lots of greenspaces and pathways to enjoy. “The goal was to build an environment AIRDRIE that is vibrant, diverse, inviting and contributesALARM to people’s health, safety and well-being,” ac948-1830 cording to the Douglas Homes website. “This community has been designed to be socially sustainable with its open-spaced network, enhanced natural environments and the fact that it provides residents with a significant opportunity for social interactions with its walkability to nearby communities and amenities through the regional pathway system.” O’Neill adds that Lanark will have the benefit of a homeowners’ association and enhanced park space with a park on every block. “The homeowners association will have annual fees estimated at approximately $100 per household unit,” says O’Neill. “These fees go towards maintenance of the upgraded community features as well as community-building social events.” The community will include a number of interconnected pathways, parks, ponds and a joint-use site for a future school and outdoor play fields. Nearby schools include Heloise Lorimer, École Francophone d’Airdrie and a new separate school coming soon. There are an abundance of shops and restaurants down the street in Kingsview Market and the Kingsview Business Park.

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403.948.1830 info@airdriealarm.ca • NEW! ULC Fire Panel Monitoring • 24/7 Monitoring • Burglary Alarm • Surveillance Cameras • Automation • Guard Services & Response • Vacation House checks • Card Fob Access Control















Journey Back. Live Forward. Welcome to Vista Crossing, where life is simplified in a most sophisticated way. A place where you can unplug and connect with what really matters. Join a butterfly chase in the spacious yard; sip lemonade on front porch and watch the sun turn in for the night. Located just 35 minutes from downtown Calgary, your exceptional home awaits in this masterfully planned community.

Discover Crossfield MCKEE HOMES | HOMES BY DREAM

129 Amery Crescent | Crossfield, Alberta 201 Vista Drive | Crossfield, Alberta

Prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. E. & O.E.


S P R I N G 2020




H O N E L I F E | D E V E LO P E R


The neighbourhood

How would you like a 55-acre backyard, complete with a splash park, playgrounds, an ice rink, skate park, volleyball net and baseball diamonds? All that and more can be yours with Chinook Gate – a boutique community that spans 113 acres alongside Chinook Winds Park off Yankee Valley Boulevard between Eighth and 24th Streets S.W. This location means Chinook Winds Park, with its two kilometres of paved pathways, is right in your backyard. “Chinook Gate is a rare opportunity to live in a boutique community but be close to so many amenities – from schools, shopping, to recreation options – you get the ‘big city’ living at a small town feel and price,” says Jessie Seymour, senior manager of marketing and community experience with Brookfield Residential. “Here, neighbours naturally become friends and leave the chaos of city life behind without sacrificing amenities, recreation or convenience.” Seymour adds the prime location of the neighbourhood makes it appealing to a wide range of buyers. “It really is the community where you can upsize, downsize – your size. It’s a community that’s a perfect fit,” says Seymour. “While it may sound broad – it really does cater to all! We have many first-time homebuyers; definitely young families who love getting to know their neighbours and having their kids grow up in a smaller community. We have people who are either looking to purchase a newer move-up home or right size into our duplex or townhomes.”


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The homes

The community offers a variety of housing options with something completely unique thrown in. Front-attached garage homes are being offered by  Excel Homes and McKee Homes starting in the low $400,000s, while Brookfield Residential and Excel are building laned homes starting in the mid $300,000s and duplexes starting in the low $300,000s. New to Chinook Gate is Avalon, creating ZEN Chinook Gate.  All homes enjoy landscaped fronts and private fenced backyards. “Chinook Gate homes offer the best innovations in architectural design and distinctive personalities that reflect the boutique nature of the community,” says Seymour.

“Here, neighbours naturally become friends and leave the chaos of city life behind without sacrificing amenities, recreation or convenience”

Do you know an awesome kid? Nominate him or her today for the

ZEN Chinook Gate is an exciting project where each home is designed with the flexibility for use as a home or combined home/ workspace. Convenient and comfortable, two- and three-bedroom townhomes with bonus room range from 1,238 to 1,455 square feet. Each home features modern kitchens with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. The main floor has plenty of open living space and a separate bonus room, perfect for an office or family room – all starting from the $270,000s. “Being new to the Airdrie market (it’s our first community development in Airdrie) we wanted talented builder partners with experience and a solid track record in Airdrie to work closely with our internal builder to all offer a great, diverse product line,” says Seymour. The neighbourhood will include a homeowners’ association that will provide enhanced maintenance to community landscaping and parks and be a catalyst for community connection via resident supported events. The community was launched in 2018 and at build out (estimated 2027) Chinook Gate will be home to 800-plus homes and 2,200plus residents. life

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S P R I N G 2020


2020-01-29 7:03 AM



POWER 9® PRINCIPLES Move Naturally


Down Shift

80% Rule


First International BLUE ZONES PROJECT Who doesn’t like to be first? Airdrie is the first international Blue Zones Project demonstration community and has begun the journey to become the first certified Blue Zones Community in Canada.


Wine at 5

Blue zones areas are regions of the world where people are living remarkably long, healthy and fulfilled lives. They were first identified in a November 2005 article in National Geographic Magazine titled “The Secrets of a Long Life,” by Dan Buettner. These communities include Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece) and Loma Linda (USA). Using research and lessons from the original blue zones regions, Buettner co-founded Blue Zones Project, an initiative that strategically improves places and policies so that people live healthier, happier and longer lives.

Right Tribe

Blue Zones Project has successfully implemented their systematic approach and measured significant health and life longevity gains in 48 other communities in the US since their original research and now it’s time to bring this vision to Canada. Abrio Health officially began implementing Blue Zones Project in September 2019. What’s been happening since that time? A local team has been hired, trained, and is now engaging businesses and residents to help develop a custom blueprint (business plan) for the project, which will officially launch this spring.

Loved Ones First



Learn more at Airdrie.BlueZonesProject.com.

With the implementation of this community-wide well-being project, it will become easier for you to make the healthy choice the easy choice in Airdrie as it relates to nine key determinants of health that Blue Zones Project refers to as the Power 9. These healthy habits are loosely categorized into moving naturally, eating wisely, having the right outlook and belonging. The Power 9 principles present a different way of looking at health, are rooted in the experience of the five naturally occurring blue zones areas and are backed by extensive scientific research. The findings are built into Blue Zones Project programs and offerings to be implemented in Airdrie.


The Blue Zones Project team in Airdrie comes with a great deal of experience and connections within the community. They are excited to work with individuals and organizations to bring the Blue Zones Project to life in Airdrie. Kent Rupert, Executive Director Guide the team through a successful certification process serving as an example for the rest of Alberta and Canada.

Michelle Wagner, Organizational Lead Collaborate with workplaces, schools, restaurants and grocery stores to achieve Blue Zones certification.

Jenelle Wohlberg, Engagement Lead Encourage individuals, faith-based and other organizations to engage in healthy Blue Zones Project activities. Photo credit: Cooper’s Crossing


In many ways, this initiative introduces healthful, old-fashioned tendencies into a modern construct. It’s about slowing down, putting family first and finding ways to incorporate movement into your day. This proven model looks at three key pillars which include policy (tobacco, built environment and food), places (schools, restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces and faith-based organizations), and people to make healthy choices easier and more abundant wherever you spend your time.


There will be many ways for Airdrie residents to get involved – making a personal health pledge, attending a cooking demonstration, joining a walking or healthy potluck group, attending a purpose workshop or volunteering – all in an effort to add healthy years to your life. Watch for these exciting activities to start up after the Blue Zones Project kickoff event in Spring 2020. To learn more, like us on Facebook @bzpairdrie or visit www.airdrie.bluezonesprojectcom. It’s time to improve well-being in Airdrie together!

Kendra Chow, Policy Lead Develop food, tobacco and built environment policy to help make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Christie Jensen, Events & Volunteer Lead Organize series of fun and healthy Blue Zones Project events that engage residents in Power 9 activities.

LET’S IMPROVE AIRDRIE’S WELL-BEING TOGETHER Live longer, better in Canada’s first Blue Zones Project community. Watch for Kickoff Event Spring 2020 Learn more: bluezonesprojectairdrie@abriohealth.ca @bzpairdrie POWERED BY

H O M E L I F E | P E R M I TS



“You can do everything online. You can even submit photos, plans and make payments electronically.”


t happens each year – with warm weather on the horizon, many Airdrie residents make plans to renovate or upgrade parts of their home. To ensure that homeowners meet or exceed Alberta Building Code regulations, the City of Airdrie has streamlined the process for permits and inspections by making resources accessible online. Save a trip to City Hall by simply logging onto MyAirdrie.ca to apply for your building permits and to book inspections. “We’ve tried to make this a very simple process,” says Pertti Harkonen, team leader, Building Inspections. “You can do everything online. You can even submit photos, plans and make payments electronically.” Harkonen says that the most popular building permits in the spring and summer are deck and garage permits and basement permits are higher during the fall and winter season. Hot tub permits are in demand all year, while requests for air conditioning permits ramp up during the summer. Permits are only one part of the equation when it comes to home renovations and upgrades. Harkonen and his team offers some friendly advice on how to ensure your home improvements are up to code.


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S P R I N G 2020

All work completed under a permit must be inspected. Even if the work was done by a licensed contractor a final inspection is required. New building codes became effective Dec. 1, 2019, which may or may not impact a homeowner. Although inspections ensure the improvements to your home meet all the existing and new code requirements, there are other ways homeowners can be diligent. “We strongly recommend residents hire contractors that are certified and licensed to work in Airdrie,” Harkonen says. “In general, licensed contractors are up to date with codes and your project should go smoothly. This doesn’t mean that a final inspection is not required, but it ensures that the outcome is likely to meet the necessary code requirements.” The Building Inspections team is a valuable resource on how to get started and recommends that residents ask for referrals from contractors prior to hiring. If residents are used to doing things the old-fashioned way, they can rest assured that help is still available in person, by email or phone. To connect with the team for all of your permitting and inspections needs, visit airdrie.ca/buildinginspections, email building. inspections@airdrie.ca or call 403-948-8832. life

Skip the trip to City Hall Apply for your PERMIT online Use

to apply for permits and book inspections online!

• Online payments • Local emergency alerts • Animal licences • Business licences

• Recreation program registration

• Water usage and utility statements

• Curbside waste collection reminders

• Building permits and inspection booking

• Tax and assessment notices

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H O M E L I F E | S H OW H O M E PA R A D E McKee Homes


McKee Homes


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McKee Homes


S P R I N G 2020

McKee Homes

Nuvista Homes


eveloper WestMark recently unveiled the Reynolds Collection in Cooper’s Crossing that features its most affordable homes to date, combined with established amenities that have been 20 years in the making. Titled after the family that homesteaded the land more than 50 years ago, the Reynolds Collection features affordable lots just footsteps from a new school, greenspaces, paths, a grocery store, restaurants and shops. In collaboration with award-winning builders NuVista Homes and McKee Homes, the Reynolds Collection includes a choice of paired homes, rear-lane and front-drive single-family homes. With prices that start from the mid $300,000s, the Reynolds Collection is a great opportunity for homebuyers looking to live in Airdrie’s most sought-after community at an affordable price.

Nuvista Homes

Nuvista Homes

S P R I N G 2020







Making sure the right house is the right size


See ad page 15

See ad page 21

McKee Homes See ad on cover fold

See ad page 41

and Avalon Homes See ad page 11 See ad page 17

See ad page 100


aird rielife.com


See ad page 49

S P R I N G 2020

hen it comes to real estate, we often hear or believe that “bigger is better.” The idea being that you graduate from a tiny rental apartment to buying a modest starter home and then eventually to a bigger, better dream home. Once the kids move out, it’s time to “downsize.” But maybe we’ve got this all wrong…. “Rightsizing” is a new (and trending) term in real estate and it’s gaining popularity, especially among our younger generations. Let me be clear: rightsizing and downsizing are two very different things. Downsizing is literally moving into a smaller footprint; rightsizing is choosing a footprint that fits your family and lifestyle. It’s easy to be influenced by media, family and friends into believing that the bigger house is the “right” one, but is it? How many formal dining rooms are out there with visible vacuum lines because they never get used? How many nights a year does your guest room actually host living human and not just well-placed decorative pillows? Are you spending more time cleaning your home than enjoying it? Maybe you’re in the wrong size. Is your family constantly struggling to fit around the table at dinner? Could you use a little more space for your down time (ya know, distance makes the heart grow fonder). Or, is your work slowly leaching into your living

space because there just isn’t an office space? Maybe you’re in the wrong size? Do you have the space to welcome family and friends to celebrate holidays and life’s milestones? Is there a place to gather and a quiet place to relax? Do all the toys have a home? Maybe you are in the right size? You see, rightsizing isn’t about going bigger or smaller; it’s about knowing your needs and choosing a home that meets them. It’s about not having too much so that it doesn’t take away from your life and also ensuring you have enough room to breathe. Rightsizing isn’t about compromising on what’s important to you (be it location, finishings or style); it’s about finding a place that checks most of the boxes. Maybe your next move is to something bigger, or smaller, or it’s the same size but more suited to your needs. Instead of focusing on the square footage, think more about how you use it! life

LIVE MUSIC Cocktails Wine Beer Espresso Breakfast Lunch Dinner Patio Bayside (8th and Yankee)

Looking for Investment or Retirement Advice? Talk to us today!

Michelle Carre is a real estate professional with The Carre Group

READ THIS AD. See print ads work. Your customers are our readers. Book an ad in our summer issue and grab our reader’s attention. Book before April 27, 2020 wendy@frogmediainc.ca

Carman Thiessen, CFP® Certified Financial Planner 403-462-7727 carman.thiessen@rbc.com

Chris Friesen, CFP® Certified Financial Planner 403-807-3010 chris.friesen@rbc.com

RBC Financial Planning is a business name used by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by RMFI. RMFI, RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RMFI is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec. † Personal lending products and residential mortgages are offered by Royal Bank of Canada and are subject to its standard lending criteria. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. © Royal Bank of 36425 (11/2019) Canada, 2019. VPS106293

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Home & T Lifestyle Show kicks off spring

he much-anticipated Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show presented by Cam Clark Ford takes place April 25 to 26 and features more than 200 exhibitors. It is the largest lifestyle consumer event in Airdrie and Rocky View County and has been hosted by the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce together with the community for more than 40 years. The show runs Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Genesis Place. Spend the day leisurely strolling through the exhibits and enjoy the opportunity to meet and speak with experts in interior design, exterior renovations, yard maintenance, nutrition, DIY, pet care, fashion and so much more all under one roof. Admission is $5 per person; children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. The first 250 attendees on both Saturday and Sunday will receive a swag bag filled with goodies, giveaways and promotions. In addition, each paid entry comes with a chance to win generous door prizes. This year, the entertainment stage will highlight home and lifestyle tips, tricks and trends from experts in their field. In addition, the stage will showcase the Money Tunnel (back by popular demand) for the chance to win “show bucks� to spend at the show! Watch for the complete stage schedule by vising airdriechamber.ab.ca Come connect, explore and shop while learning how to enhance your home and life. The Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show is the place to be! life


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M E E T T H E M OV E R S , S H A K E R S A N D B U S I N E SS M A K E R S W O R K L I F E | R E TA I L

“We really want to spark conversations. We want to empower our customers and we want to blaze new trails here.”





ince cannabis became legal in 2018, Airdrie was inundated with applications for cannabis and cannabis related shops. As of our press date Airdrie is home to 11 such shops. Three of them are featured here; the common factor? Women are at the helm. In her words, Ami Ballman, co-founder of Rare Cannabis Co., is blazing her own trail. A fan of the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, she loves a good pun, but also brings her retail marketing background, along with a public relations degree (2012) from Mount Royal University (MRU), to make a strong business case for Rare. She’s taken her experience of helping “small retail businesses connect the dots between lead generation, customer experience and their bottom lines” into her own business. “Cannabis has been such a game changer in my life, and I really want to share that with others,” says Ballman. “We have done something really unique and special with Rare. We’ve cultivated it, and we’re very passionate. We really want to spark conversations. We want to empower our customers and we want to blaze new trails here.” Her goals are to break down the stigmas associated with cannabis by informing and educating the public. She would love to see Rare Cannabis expand into other communities, as well. The journey to opening Rare Cannabis in July 2019 began when she met her husband and

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W O R K L I F E | R E TA I L

“I didn’t want people like me suffering and not having a choice”

business partner, Damian, at MRU. She moved to Airdrie in 2013, and grew fond of the community. “Airdrie was such a natural, exciting fit and I just love it here,” says Ballman. “It’s been really, really interesting to make collaborations and meet others and other retail owners in the community as well.” The trail she’s blazed has had “no shortage of hurdles,” and took “a lot of hope, a lot of faith.” “Having [the] supportive, passionate tribe surrounding you makes all the difference, especially in a very new industry that’s constantly in change and flux,” says Ballman. She’s a strong proponent of women in the cannabis industry. “It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s an industry that we can really claim to be our own,” says Ballman. “Women using cannabis in an informed, intentional way is very empowering.” Coming from a conservative family where cannabis was frowned upon, Genny Guenther didn’t expect her path to cross with marijuana. The Strain Lane owner’s marijuana journey began when she had a painful pelvic disease coupled with endometriosis, which ended her 15-year career as a rock singer. “Those things were so debilitating to me,” recalls Guenther. “I 62



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wasn’t out of bed in just about two years, when I finally gave up. And last ditch effort, I guess I’m going to go try drugs. But the drugs, or the plant, were exactly what I needed.” Having property in the U.S., she went south for eight weeks to try cannabis as a medication. She lost about 60 pounds and reduced her medications from eight daily down to two or three. She’s only had one flare up in the roughly five years since. She became an advocate for the plant that was part of the treatment that changed her life. “I didn’t want people like me suffering and not having a choice,” says Guenther, who started a medicinal cannabis dispensary first. The fifth-generation Calgarian, who moved to Airdrie after marrying her husband Grant Guenther about a decade ago, faced petitioning from locals and a large corporation against her business, but she lawyered up and succeeded. She opened in 2015 and operated in her current location across from The Home Depot for about a year until 2017. When cannabis was legalized in October 2018, she had already closed the medical side of her business to begin the process of opening the recreational cannabis retailer, Strain Lane, to serve a wider variety of clients.

Genny regards the three years of running and developing the business before it was able to rebrand in the summer 2019 as her “education” in the industry. “If someone tells you, ‘No,’ you just have to find another way to, ‘Yes,’” says Genny. “It has been a long and exhausting but very rewarding fight.” “Once I started, I noticed the community support started to build and I just couldn’t leave my community,” says Genny, noting her three staff are all single moms. “Now I’m Airdrie’s biggest fan.” The future of her brand will include expansion with more stores under the Strain Lane name, and work with other partner businesses in the industry. “This will always be our Cheers, no matter what. This is where I hang out, where my dog is, this is where my friends are,” says Genny. Lona Bronee and her husband, Matt, are pioneering paraphernalia for cannabis. From their store, Two Hoot on Main, they are selling their own dabbing pens (a device for delivering cannabis concentrates), pipes, vape pens, e-nails, rolling machines and a variety of items from other suppliers. Lona was a server in the hospitality industry for 35 years before

making the break into the business full time in 2018 with Matt, who previously painted cars for three decades. “It was a really big moment,” says Lona. “We’ve thrown it all into Two Hoot.” It began with an awareness of how marijuana use was changing in 2014. “[Consumers] want concentrates,” says Lona. “They’re interested in shatter, wax, that kind of thing, and they had nothing to smoke it in. So [Matt] designed a pen and had it manufactured in China, and five years later, here we are. We started wholesaling the pens across Canada.” From their home in Carstairs, “it grew and it grew,” leading to them opening their Two Hoot storefront five days before marijuana was legalized Oct. 17, 2018. Lona says Matt takes care of developing products, while she took a bookkeeping course, and has managed the numbers. With their pot-promoting store, they’re educated in weed culture, but don’t sell cannabis itself, as much as people have confused them for a cannabis retailer. “We’re all in, like our heart and soul is in the weed business,” says Lona, noting they have a rosin press for customers to use to make their own dabs of concentrated cannabis. life

“We’re all in, like our heart and soul is in the weed business” S P R I N G 2020







ara is known by many in the community, having served 12 years with the City of Airdrie as an economic development officer. She brings to this new role 20 years of experience in economic development and communications. During her time with the City, Sara has managed numerous successful projects including Airdrie’s economic strategy, the SMARTstart entrepreneurial training program and award-winning communications initiatives. She has developed positive relationships with many community organizations and business owners.

Q. You’ve been a part of the ED team for 12 years now. What is your biggest takeaway from watching Airdrie grow? A. My biggest takeaway watching Airdrie’s growth is that while many things have changed, just as many have stayed the same. What’s the same is the sense of support and camaraderie amongst Airdrie businesses, our small-town feel and our community’s desire to welcome new people, events and businesses to our city. Ten years ago and now, I hear this same statement said by my co-workers, business clients and neighbours: “I just love Airdrie.” Q. What is the biggest challenge facing small business in our community? A. The biggest challenge facing small business in our community is similar to what communities across Alberta are experiencing: it’s a tough economy and the cost of doing business continues to rise. The reality is consumers are spending less and that has a direct impact on businesses’ bottom line. This is why it’s so important the residents consider Airdrie first when they are spending their hard-earned money. Q. What is your No. 1 piece of advice for any business looking to move to Airdrie? A. Get involved in the community! Time and time again, I have seen how businesses do better when they support one another, and that residents will support businesses that are involved in the community. Becoming connected and being interested and invested in Airdrie is a solid strategy for any business. Q. Where does Airdrie rank with other municipalities in attracting economic growth? A. Many people don’t realize Airdrie is now Alberta’s fifth-largest city (not including Calgary and Edmonton). And by 2030, it’s likely we will be second on that list, just behind Red Deer. So it’s fair to say we’ve done very well in attracting economic growth. Q. What are your priorities as a department in 2020 and in the next five years? A. Our team plays a key role in implementing Airdrie’s Economic Strategy 2018-2028. Our priorities include the revitalization of downtown, increasing the amount of non-residential land available for development, attracting new business and improving customer service. This is in addition to our everyday work of helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. We’re excited to be working on a mentorship program that will launch in 2021. Q. Describe your perfect “Airdrie day.” A. My perfect weekend starts with making a latte using Rosso espresso beans available at Sorso. If it’s warm, I’ll be heading for a walk on the pathway along Nose Creek to Airdrie Public Library to pick up the novel my book club is reading. I’ll stop on my way home to grab a few groceries, feeling fortunate I live walking distance from a grocery story. The afternoon will inevitably include driving one of my sons to basketball practice, parkour at Airdrie Edge or to Genesis Place for skating or swimming. The evening would include dinner out. (There’s no way I could choose just one favourite eatery in Airdrie.) If there’s a new movie out, you will find my family at the Roxy Theatre; otherwise we’d be hanging out and playing a board game with family or neighbours. life


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What does it mean to shop local?

E businesslife


veryone has a different definition of what it means to support local. Some feel that you should only support independent retailers; others feel you should support any and all local businesses. No matter what your definition is, the outcome is the same: supporting local helps everyone in Airdrie. Choosing to spend locally allows money to be cycled back into our community, which means we all have a stake in helping to boost Airdrie’s economy. According to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the multiplier effect for local businesses states that when $100 is spent locally at an independent retailer, $68 of that hundred stays in the community. If you think about that, $68 adds up quickly! That money provides opportunities for local businesses to hire employees, reinvest it into their products and services, and to give back by sponsoring community organizations, causes and events. YOU can be the difference in whether a local business, like the coffee shop down the street, survives or dies. You have the power to be that regular customer who helps ensure the owner (who is someone’s neighbour!) has a consistent and reliable customer base. And don’t forget, that business owner is working his or her hardest to make their dream of being an entrepreneur come true. By spending your money and time in local businesses, you have the ability to change people’s

lives and have a positive impact on the Airdrie economy. For me, supporting local means thinking Airdrie first. I try to find what I’m looking for locally before looking elsewhere. Does this take more of my time? Yes. Do I sometimes have to make multiple trips? Yes. But for me it’s worth it. Really, who doesn’t feel a bit warm and fuzzy knowing that they supported their neighbour or a friend of a friend? There are other ways to support local besides spending money. You can volunteer your time, support community groups and get involved in community events. Airdrie is home to many community groups looking for volunteers or support on their boards. These community initiatives are run solely on volunteerism and they are always looking for help. Give the gift of time by getting involved. Whether it be staple events like the pro rodeo and Festival of Lights or new events such as the Foam 5K Run, children’s festival or Boo at the Creek; all these events need community support to be successful. Shop local. Eat local. Volunteer local. Play local. Spend local. Enjoy local. Stay local. Whatever you call it, it’s all about thinking Airdrie first. There is really no downside to supporting the local businesses that support the community where we all live, work and play. life Tara Levick is an economic development officer with the City of Airdrie

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When you think of a brewmaster, chances are you A woman’s touch said one of the most notable ladies in the industry is Calgary’s picture a large man in his 30s or 40s with a beard. She Last Best Brewing and Distillery head brewer and advanced ciceThat image could not be farther off for the Balzac Craft Brewing Company’s head brewer Thecla Wiart. The energetic and slight 23-year-old says she is used to having people push her aside and ask if they can “speak to the brewer.” “I am very vocal about what I do,” she says. “I don’t feel intimidated and I am proud to be a successful woman in a traditionally male-dominated field. It’s fun to be different and prove people who don’t believe in my potential wrong.” Wiart went on to add that historically, beer was brewed by women at home while men tended to the fields. “It’s only in the past few hundred years that beer is seen as a ‘man’s industry,’” she says.

rone Natasha Peiskar. Wiart says Peiskar is someone she looks up to professionally. “She’s just so well spoken and knowledgeable and she isn’t afraid to create an amazing product,” says Wiart. She explains women have a different palate than men and often make unique styles and flavour profiles that aren’t commonly seen on the market. Wiart says one of the reasons women make good brewmasters is the fact that they are willing to learn and improve. “I love that it is a very creative process. “I get to be a chef, scientist and artist rolled into one, with the added benefit of a delicious end product.”

“I get to be a chef, scientist and artist rolled into one, with the added benefit of a delicious end product”

The art of beer making

Infiltrating the industry

Wiart realized it might be the industry for her when she was working in a winery in Osoyoos, B.C., a few years ago. “I worked in a taproom and I realized that talking about the aromas and taste profiles in beverages was something I was really interested in, but I was an Alberta girl through and through and knew I would come back,” says the Castor, A.B., native. A three-and-a-half-month trip through Europe spent engrossed in the pub culture solidified her decision to join Alberta’s beer community. She attended the Olds College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program and convocated in spring of 2019. Interestingly, Wiart’s graduating class had the most women that the program has ever seen with five women going on to work in the industry. “You are starting to see more and more women brewing beer,” says Wiart.

Wiart says although there is a very specific recipe and process you need to follow to make beer, the way the flavours interact together is different from batch to batch, making it an art. “I love that I get to see the product from start to finish,” she says. “I get to handle the ingredients, brew it, taste it as it ferments and package it. I have hands on it the whole time.” Wiart was hesitant to choose her favourite style of beer out of the eight that Balzac Brewing currently offers. “I like brewing lagers because they are so clean and taste nice, but IPAs are fun because they have a broader flavour profile,” she says. The Balzac Brewing brewhouse is only 800 square feet, so space is at a premium. To offset space constraints, Balzac Brewing uses a Brewha BIAC system, a seven-barrel system that has the capability to mash, boil, ferment and condition. Wiart says the most challenging part of her job is the incredible attention to detail and meticulous cleaning regime required to ensure the safety and flavour of each batch. “Essentially, I am just a glorified janitor for the tanks and beer,” she jokes. “The cleaning is what causes me stress at night because you need to make sure the process is perfect, or the beer will tell you.” life S P R I N G 2020








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A curated silent auction of art by female artists in celebration of the

10th Annual Amazing Airdrie Women Awards Art Unveiling Meet the Artists Fashion Show Refreshments March 31 6.p.m. - 9 p.m. The Store Upstairs 10% of all fashion sales this evening donated to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.

Art is silent auctioned with 50% of the proceeds to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. Bids accepted at airdrielife.com or at The Store Upstairs until April 29. Final bids take place at the BCT April 30 during the AAW awards. See awards ad page 98.

Action through Connection: If you own a business, or are a business leader, you have a tremendous impact on the growth and wellbeing of our community. The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce recognizes that by together working and championing local business, we will build a stronger Airdrie. The Airdrie Chamber (AC) is a dynamic, professional organization that provides value to our members and is an advocate for all business. Not only do we create worthwhile connections between our members, we connect members to new clients, and business to government. The Chamber works together with our members to improve the economic, civic, and cultural wellbeing of our community. AC is also proud to host a variety of luncheons, workshops, and networking events throughout the year to provide local business with educational opportunities and connections to experts to support them in growing their business. All Chamber events include opportunities for businesses to increase engagement and awareness, whether volunteering, networking or sponsoring.

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What’s happening at your Chamber this spring? • Teams, Tools and Technology Workshop – March 10 Presented by Tara Pickford • Motivational March – March 26 Keynote speaker Michelle Cederberg • Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show – April 25th and 26th • Leadership Luncheon/AGM – May 7th Keynote speaker Margaret Palmer Explore the Airdrie Chamber, our members and upcoming events at airdriechamber.ab.ca

Business Profile: THE HAMLETS AT CEDARWOOD STATION The best retirement living Airdrie has to offer Shopping trips, live music, art and cooking classes, yoga, pub nights, Bingo and more make Cedarwood the perfect place to spend your golden years.

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Special attention is paid to the meals for residents with a wide variety of choices from our dietician approved, nutritionally balanced menus. The suites do come equipped with your own kitchen, but with all the wonderful options Cedarwood provides, you may never want to use it. Cedarwood has its very own bus service to taxi you to the bank, doctor or mall. Located in the heart of Airdrie, adjacent to Fletcher Park and its winding walking paths. We offer studio and one or two-bedroom suites, with all-inclusive pricing. The main floor as the dining room, a pub, hair salon and theatre, as well as a lovely courtyard.


Celebrating makers from left: airdrielife publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Taste winner Vladamir Gonzalez (Maxi Foods), Taste runner-up Carly Inverarity (Fitzsimmons Brewing Co.), Taste runner-up Wayne and Rhonda Hanson (Your Local Ranch), Beauty/Wellness (and Product of the Year) Laura Lamb (Lamb’s Soapworks), Home winner Jessie Bell (Airdrie Furniture Revival) and sponsor Paul Gerla, (Cooper’s Crossing). Missing from photo are Craft winner Graham Flaig (Airdrie Woodworks) and Fashion winner Meghan Rauth (Attitude Dance Wear).

Airdrie Made T

he first Airdrie Made Awards celebrating the ingenuity, creativity, craftmanship and hard work of Airdrie makers, creators, craftspeople and businesses was held Feb. 5 at the McKee and NuVista showhomes in Cooper’s Crossing. The showhomes were crowded as guests sampled the tastes and checked out all 26 entries that were “made in Airdrie and curated in Cooper’s.” Paul Gerla of Westmark Holdings, the developer of Cooper’s Crossing, who sponsored the first awards program, was impressed. “The showcase of delicious food and drink, remarkable products and crafts, all made by our friends and neighbours right here in Airdrie, was a real treat. I’ll certainly be looking to pick up some of the new things I discovered.” He added that any opportunity to highlight the work being done by members of the community is a worthwhile endeavour. “As Airdrie’s only local developer, we’re inspired by these creative people and we try to put the same homegrown spirit into our project – Cooper’s




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948 Brewing Co. Maxi Foods

Guests start filling the showhomes. Cookies by Jen (in forefront). The Souper Lady

Crossing. A big thanks to airdrielife for working with us to recognize such amazing local talent”. Six judges representing Cooper’s Crossing, airdrielife, Airdrie Chamber of Commerce and Airdrie Economic Development had a full day of tasting, sampling and reviewing all of the entries. It was much harder than they had expected, noting the quality and variety of products presented was impressive. “Judging the 1st Annual Made in Airdrie Awards was a real pleasure,” said Tara Levick, Economic Development Officer with the City of Airdrie. “I’ve always known we have amazing talent in Airdrie, making incredible products, but to see them all under one roof was truly inspiring. The quality of products, uniqueness of branding and the ability to tell their story showcased our community’s entrepreneurial spirit.”


Maxi Foods – Taste Your Local Ranch Pepperoni Sticks – Taste runner-up Fitzsimmons Brewing Co. – Taste runner-up Attitude Dance Wear – Fashion Airdrie Woodworks – Craft Lamb’s Soapworks – Beauty/Wellness Airdrie Furniture Revival – Home Lamb’s Soapworks – Product of the Year

Your Local Ranch

An overall award Product of the Year was also awarded to Lamb’s Soapworks. airdrielife will be featuring profiles of the winners in upcoming issues. Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt hopes to grow the program in 2020. “I’d really like to see this evolve and grow so we can continue to showcase so many wonderful products that are created right here in our community.” life All the entries from this year’s program can still be viewed online at airdrielife.com

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C I T Y L I F E | O U TS I D E



efore we had kids, my husband and I spent quite a few nights out on pub crawls. Fast forward 12 years and those pub crawl nights have morphed into park crawl days with the family. To be honest, the park crawls are probably more fun (and certainly healthier)! One of our favourite park crawls started in our neighbourhood of Reunion as we biked the pathways to Willowbrook for our first “rest stop” at the Willowbrook park which overlooks Nose Creek. There wasn’t much resting at the park but the kids were still geared up to get back on their bikes after some swinging and sliding. We then headed along Nose Creek and up through Edgewater to check out the pedestrian overpass which our kids had never been on. Watching the traffic below gave us enough rest to head back down to the Midtown playground which is one of our all-time favourite parks. It has the best climbing structure and agility equipment for my wannabe-ninja-warrior son. Conveniently located right by the Midtown playground is a Tim Hortons so we stopped in for a drink and a snack to refuel. Then it was off to Sandpiper Park in Bayside for some pirate-themed fun. We snaked our way along the pathways through the Canals and Sagewood and met up with 24th Street to get back to Reunion. As a parent, I find park crawls to be one of the best ways to spend quality time as a family. As well as the quality time, it gives us a chance to soak up sunshine, get exercise and enjoy the amenities and scenery our city has to offer. As a City of Airdrie employee, I am proud of the 76 playgrounds maintained by the City and the ease with which you can see them all. Planning your park crawl is easy with the Playground Tour Map available on Airdrie.ca. The Playground Tour Map shows you where all 76 playgrounds are and includes pictures of each playground to help you decide which ones you want to visit. Airdrie has one of the best pathway systems to connect all the playgrounds together so you can walk, run, ride or roll to your favourite destinations. As well as being a parent and working for the City, I also have a diploma in Early Childhood Development and I understand the importance of play. Many of the parks feature unique themes such as pirates (Bayside) or castles (King’s Heights) that can encourage not just gross motor play but also imaginative play. Playgrounds are also a hub for the community; a place for parents to meet and get to know each other and for friends from school to meet up on the weekends. It doesn’t matter which hat I’m wearing when thinking about park crawls, from all angles they are unlimited fun and a great way to celebrate coming out of winter hibernation. Visit Airdrie.ca and search Playground Tour Map to plan your own park crawl. life S P R I N G 2020




C I T Y L I F E | C E L E B R AT I O N

Awesome Party!


n Jan. 23, airdrielife hosted the 2020 Awesome Airdrie Kids and their families, friends and nominators at CrossFit 403 on the east side of Airdrie for a casual and fun kid-friendly celebration. While the grown-ups visited, the kids participated in a fun obstacle course set up by Heather Crippen of CrossFit 403 or posed for pics in superhero costumes from The Store Upstairs and then everyone chowed down on kid-friendly finger sandwiches, crudités and fruit kebabs and finished with Avenue cupcakes. For the formal presentation each child was presented with a certificate, “I’m Awesome” T-shirt, and gifts from the sponsors including a toque from Chinook Gate, gift bag with four-hour tutor




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session from Tutor Doctor and a gift card for frozen yogurt from Pureform Radiology. Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt announced each child’s pay-itforward donation on behalf of Vitreous Glass, with a total of $1,300 being donated to various Alberta charities in each child’ name. “It was our first-time hosting at CrossFit,” says Shaw-Froggatt. “It worked out great – everyone had room to play and visit and keep it very informal.” Perfect for the audience which was mostly kids between six and 14 years of age. The 2021 Awesome Airdrie Kids Awards nominations are now open. To nominate a child between six and 14 years of age, go to airdrielife.com life

CITYLIFE | SPORTS Shelley Armitage (left) and Ellisa Podemski


“It’s a lifelong skill for everything, not just for soccer, to learn mindfulness and … how to be resilient when you’re faced with trauma or stress or things that don’t go so well”


n the winter issue we featured male coaches and in our second part of our coaching feature we highlight three female coaches. After we had completed the interviews and photos, they were ALL nominated for the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards (see story starting page 83).


Soccer coaches Shelley Armitage and Ellisa Podemski play off each other like they’re sisters, but the two met far more recently. Both with sons in the Airdrie & District Soccer Association (Airdrie Football Club), the two met and started coaching together four years ago, and followed their oldest boys up to be coaching the U11 boys last summer and fall (now U12 during the winter indoor season). For Armitage, soccer is her sport of choice. “I’ve always loved the game,” says the coach and player. “Luckily the boys both wanted to play it. I was quite happy to give them some support in that area.” S P R I N G 2020





Armitage says the two coaches feed off each other, as Podemski brings a background in adult learning techniques, team bonding and wellness. “We just blend that together to make a kind of a well-rounded offering,” says the engaged parent. Podemski prioritizes instilling a love of athleticism. “Our goal is to never be the last coach for a player,” she says. “We never want to have a player leave us and decide to leave the sport because of the experience they’ve had with us.” Helping the young players focus is her game. “I just think it’s a lifelong skill for everything, not just for soccer, to learn mindfulness and to learn how to be resilient when you’re faced with trauma or stress or things that don’t go so well,” says Podemski. As for coaching their own kids, they’ve worked it out. “We have an arrangement that I coach Ellisa’s son, and she coaches my son more, because sometimes that role of coach/mom doesn’t go over that well,” says Armitage with a laugh.


Vanessa Bellegarde is a sweet-but-fiery role model to all who set foot in the Airdrie Martial Arts Centre. Last summer, after a busy day of running a kids’ camp for her Lil Dragons program, Bellegarde sat down for an interview in the upstairs boxing ring in the gym she co-owns with her husband Luis Cofre. Behind her is a mass of dozens of trophies on the shelf of the landing, most of them hers. At 14 she was introduced to muay thai at Mike Miles Muay Thai in Calgary. Between the ages of about 19 to 24 she competed on weekends while training and working as a chef. She amassed Canadian and North American titles, which led to her winning the 1999 world title in muay thai. Sadly, she was forced to retire six months later due to a bad knee injury at age 24. The descendant of Sitting Bull left her 26-3-2 record behind, and continued her trade as a certified chef, married Cofre two years later and started a family of two kids, Ocean and Oscar. But Bellegarde got the itch to return to muay thai. “I had this idea,” says Bellegarde. “You see all these like after school programs, but they’re not active, right?” So she started Lil Dragons after-school programs to fill that void of activity. “This is our third gym, and [membership] keeps tripling every time,” says Bellegarde. “You see the growth rate and not just physically, but like mentally and emotionally. Right their attitudes. It’s pretty amazing the results of kids and adults.” life 76



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In front of Dr. Edwards’ Drug Store circa 1910. Clockwide from top left: Alma Calvers, Nellie Pole, Anna Edwards and Flo Thorburn.

Visit the Nose Creek Valley Museum (NCVM) in spring 2020 to learn more about our pioneer women AND check out the special tribute exhibit to airdrielife’s 10 years of Amazing Airdrie Women


look back at Airdrie’s original Amazing Airdrie Women – pioneer women Women throughout history have been, by and large, relegated to footnotes. There are multiple examples of women being amazing, however they are more often used as examples of atypical behavior, not the norm. However, if we could look through the eyes of women in history, I believe our story would be told differently. It may not be the swashbuckling stories of pirates or the heroic deeds of a WWI pilot, but given the constraints society placed on women – what we’ve managed to achieve is nothing short of amazing. It was 1918 when women gained the right to vote, only in 1929 were women acknowledged to be persons and it wasn’t until 1960 that First Nation women were given the right to vote. Despite not being considered people, and despite not having a say in how their country was run, women still made their mark. In Alberta, women were resilient and resourceful with their survival on the unsettled prairie. Whether women lived in a village surrounded by other people or out on the wide-open country, they were essential partners in building their surroundings. Women brought another level of ‘settling in’ to the wide-open country. They were leaders, helpers, mothers, wives, teachers, homesteaders and more. In Airdrie, women were general store owners (Esther Bowers), teachers (Muriel Clayton), nurses

(Margaret Kinniburgh), artists (Agnes Bowhay), postmistresses (Edith Duncan), switchboard operators (Inez Clayton), ice cream parlour owners (Anna Edwards). Local women were instrumental in the growth and development of their hamlet into a village and town and then city. They took ownership in their village by helping to shape how it would look. They did all this without electricity or indoor plumbing; they did this while their husbands were away in another part of the country – earning money. Women did this while growing a garden, tending the livestock, taking care of their children, keeping the house and attending church and social events. Pioneer women set the tone for their future generations to follow. Farm women would have the same duties as town women, however at harvest the women’s job was increased along with all the other chores that had to be accomplished. Harvest meant a working crew, which meant that the women would have to cook and serve a meal, three times a day, for 20 or more people. Airdrie women have always been strong, independent visionaries. The role women carved out for themselves in the everyday life of Airdrie – their influence and message – is easy to see. These women paved the way for our lives today; the ease of our lives today was created from the sweat on pioneer women’s brows. They survived so we could thrive. life Laurie Harvey is curator at the Nose Creek Valley Museum

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omen in Airdrie who are fleeing domestic violence have a safe haven for themselves and their children thanks to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. (Protecting Our Women with Emergency Resources). The non-profit organization recently opened the city’s first women’s day shelter and it is providing valuable resources that will help women take steps to leave a violent situation. “We want to give women in the community everything they need to live happy, healthy, successful lives without living in fear,” says Crystal Boys, president and founder of Airdrie P.OW.E.R. “We provide a safe space where they can bring their children and just be. This allows women to come in and make plans so when it comes time to leave, none of the barriers – like not being able to afford a lawyer or not having a job – will stand in their way. “When you live in a violent home, you are on high alert all the time. At the shelter, you can take a deep breath and know you are safe.” Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. has been in operation for about five years and has raised between $80,000 and $90,000 in that time. The volunteer-run shelter, located at 309 Main Street, was originally scheduled to open in November but the opening was delayed until early this year due to a number of construction delays.


The organization, made up of seven board members, is working toward building an overnight shelter in the community but board members didn’t want to wait the years it would take to raise the funds needed. They started with a day centre, so the women of Airdrie had somewhere to go in the meantime. “Only five per cent of women who flee domestic violence use an overnight shelter,” says Boys, who is a domestic violence survivor. “There are a number of reasons for this, but we wanted to provide all of the services of an overnight shelter and then some.” She added that the pet-friendly shelter will help women fleeing violence in an emergency situation who need a place to stay. “If they are in immediate danger, we are there for them every step of the way. We will be there until they find friends or family who can help, we get them a hotel, or an overnight shelter in Calgary or area can take them in,” says Boys. “We stay with them as long as they need us. Once you enlist our help, you are never alone in this again.”


The organization will be the recipient of a portion of the ticket sales and the silent auction for the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards (AAWA). “The AAWAs has donated to us for the past three years and it could not be more … well, amazing!” says Boys. “We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the community. Airdrie has paid for this shelter 100 per cent and we have no idea how to express our gratitude.” The AAWAs have donated a total of $1,200 to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. to date. The money will be used to fund programming that the organization provides to local women including financial planning, resume building, legal aid and education programs. life For more information, visit airdriepower.com

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“If you don’t see smiles on the kids’ faces, you’re not going to have a successful season”

emale hockey is flourishing in Airdrie. Airdrie Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) female peewee A coach Trevor Simpson is happy to be a part of coaching girls like his daughter, Silas, for the last four years. His ethos is simple. “If you don’t see smiles on the kids’ faces, you’re not going to have a successful season,” said Simpson over the phone while in Kamloops for a peewee A female tournament. He said the girls’ side of the game having fewer players than the mixed stream is an advantage for building morale among teammates. He’s coached about eight of the same girls over four years, where he said that doesn’t happen for his son, who is on a mixed U10 team with only one or two teammates remaining constant year over year. “I see best friends being formed on our team, because they stick together and they’re playing consistently every year together,” said Simpson. The same happens among parents, and has him saying it’s “almost like being a kid again.” He sees his players in the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League are more coachable than their XY-chromosome peers. With fewer teams comes lots of travel around south and central Alberta and beyond. Fortunately, Airdrie girls don’t have to commute as far as some rural peers looking for competitive play, although the U15 Elite’s (AA) home rink is in Olds with the Grizzlys. “It’s tough if you want to play female hockey,” said Simpson, noting it’s a big commitment, but balanced his response with “the girls love it.” “Even if they have the aspirations to play on Team Canada or to go to college, they’re all there for the same reason, and that’s to play girls hockey and to hang out with the girls in the locker room,” he said. Simpson tips his hat to Tara Huck, female director for the AMHA. Huck is one of many volunteers, coaches and parents working to make the sport a success among girls.

“We’re trying more to hold events just for our girls, to let them see what it’s like to be on the ice with girls,” says Huck, noting lots of girls are on a mostly-boys team at a variety of ages and levels. They’ve held several events just for younger girls to be mentored by older teenage players. “It’s good for them to see where they can go, and how fast they can skate one day,” says Huck. She says the recent success of the program started with an all-girls novice team (U9) in 2017-2018, which led to a retention of girls playing atom (U11) the following season for the first time in Airdrie. Those girls won the mixed-gender city league that year. “It was successful, and then our program grew,” says Huck. She acknowledges the challenges for girls playing on co-ed teams. “I think the dynamic in the dressing room changes as they get older ... they’re not always welcomed as part of the team,” she says. Jasmine Rai, 14, faced those challenges herself. Rai followed her younger brother into hockey about five years ago as a first-year atom girl among boys for two months at the end of the season. “I started on the boys’ side, but I didn’t like it because they didn’t involve me in anything,” says Rai. “When I moved to girls, it was just I was more involved ... I like it much better.” The centre has become an advocate for the sport, encouraging a few of her school friends to join, and along with regular linemate, right-winger Marissa Jackson, they were leading the team in points (13 and 11 each, respectively) in mid-January, with 14 games played. With a handful of minor hockey seasons left as a teen, Rai’s not stressing about what’s next for her hockey career. “I think it’ll just come to me as I go,” she says. life Note: Starting with the 2020-2021 season, Hockey Canada is changing age levels to Under-9, 11, 13, 15 and 18, which were formerly known as novice, atom, peewee, bantam and midget

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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

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cannot believe I am writing this but here we go – this is the 10th year of celebrating women in Airdrie. When I started this project in 2011, I was looking for a way to showcase interesting stories on women but wow did I ever underestimate the impact it would have. There were only 80 tickets available for the first luncheon and it sold out immediately so we knew we were on to something! Over the past 10 years we have celebrated 334 women for their heart, determination, courage, leadership (now Mentor) and promise. To celebrate our 10th we added five more categories: Advocate, Athlete, Cultural Ambassador, Legacy and Workplace. The very first year we had only three awards, for Strength, Leadership and Compassion. In 2012 we created the first women’s conference in Airdrie with the luncheon and had five awards – Amazing Heart, Determination, Promise, Leadership and Courage. (See the full list of all recipients on page 93.) In 2013 we focused on the luncheon format and continued to sell out each year. We brought in inspiring speakers, comediennes and improv performers, but the highlight of the day was seeing so many women celebrating each other. I always make everyone turn to someone at their table and tell them “You’ve amazing” and then turn to another and say “I’m amazing!” Laughter and smiles ensue. I’ve always said it’s a day that will make you laugh and cry and you will leave feeling empowered. We’ve supported Airdrie Relay for Life, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. Since 2013 we have donated more than $3,500 to local causes from ticket sales. This year we made the leap to the Bert Church Theatre and to an evening format. Join us April 30 for a gala event celebrating 10 years of amazing women with a prosecco and dessert reception by Avenue Cakery and an awards program that includes the amazing vocals of Canadian jazz singer and recording artist Deanne Matley. See you there – it’s going to be amazing! So read on – it will take some time, there are 44 nominees! Then go online to airdrielife.com and cast your votes for the women you wish to see awarded this honour in each category. Fifty per cent of the decision comes from your votes. The other 50 per cent comes from our editorial team, previous recipients and sponsors. And speaking of sponsors, my deepest thanks to those businesses who value this program year after year and to our new sponsors who jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.

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QUEST DENTAL AMAZING ADVOCATE KIERSTEN MOHR Kiersten Mohr felt lost, alone and confused as a transgendered person growing up in Airdrie. She was convinced that there was no one else like her in the city and when she became involved with the Airdrie Pride Society in 2017, it was her goal that no other person ever has to feel like she did. “Gandhi said it best, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ and I think that summarizes perfectly why Airdrie Pride is so important to me,” she says. Mohr, now the president of Airdrie Pride, was instrumental in organizing the society’s inaugural Pride Festival and Solidarity Walk in June 2019. “It truly was one of the most impactful, outstanding and amazing days of my life,” she says. “I connected with numerous people in the LGBTQ2S+ community who had never been ‘out’ in Airdrie before. So many of the youth came over for a teary hug, saying that they never thought they would see this in Airdrie.” Candice Kutyn, Mohr’s fellow Pride board member, describes her as ‘strength wrapped in compassion.’ “She has navigated her own journey and maintained a commitment that Airdrie’s LGBTQ2S+ community should not have to leave their community to find their community,” says Kutyn. “She continues to speak in an advocacy role to challenge the status quo and isn’t afraid to have difficult conversations to break down stereotypes and assumptions.”



MARLENE RAASOK Marlene Raasok is making Airdrie a healthier place to live. Since 2017, she has lent her skills and extensive knowledge of seniors’ care, health care systems and policy development to Abrio Health (formerly the Airdrie & Area Health Co-op) to help make Airdrie Canada’s healthiest community. At Abrio Health, she is the chair of the Health Council called Collaborating 4 Health, which brings together various agencies, organizations, not-for-profits and government entities. “I have much to be thankful for and feel it is important to share my time, talent and financial resources with organizations that need what I can share,” she says, adding that as a former health care leader with experience in continuing care and community health, Airdrie is a ‘dream environment’ to develop community capacity for connected health care services. “I firmly believe, in this world of constrained resources, that prosperity depends on working together and contributing what we can from all perspectives.” Raasok travels extensively within Alberta and Canada to engage government officials on behalf of Airdrie citizens. “She is a woman of action, with a vision; making something happen to address needs in her community,” says Mark Seland, who has known Raasok for 25 years. “Few people have the drive, passion and expertise to offer what Marlene has and few people give so freely of their time.” Raasok also volunteers her time to North Rocky View Community Links to drive people needing medical support to appointments in Calgary.


SHELLEY BITZ Shelley Bitz has been volunteering in Airdrie for more than 30 years and has donated her time to a long list of organizations including: Festival of Lights, Special Olympics, Summer Games, Airdrie Food Bank and the Airdrie Health Foundation. She has also been an Airdrie Rotary member for more than 10 years, allowing her to give back to organizations locally and around the world. “I volunteer to lead by example and to help a community that I want to see succeed and be healthy,” says Bitz. “I consider my time to be my most precious resource, so I share it with the place I call home; helping the people that make our city the place I have always wanted it to be.” Christie Doyle says the fact that her close friend believes the world is changed by actions and not opinions makes her a community leader and strong, yet compassionate, role model. “Shelley is a  positive force within many  organizations that are continually making Airdrie a better place to live for our future,” Doyle says. “This advocacy provides a glance at the passion she has for her community and the future of Airdrie.” The banking professional also helps local businesses succeed by taking part in the SMARTstart program and the chamber of commerce. “Seeing people  create and operate strong, vibrant businesses positively affects our community’s growth and success,” says Bitz. “Seeing people learn what they don’t know, share it with others and enrich our community is my ultimate goal.”


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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

EXPLOSIVE EDGE AMAZING ATHLETE AINSLEY KIRK Grade 9 Bert Church High School honour student Ainsley Kirk’s enthusiasm and dedication to sports is impressive. The 14-year-old plays soccer, competing at the highest level for her age – the Alberta Regional Program of Excellence – a pathway to the Canadian Youth National Team. “The thing I like most about the sport are the relationships and opportunities I’ve experienced,” she says. “An important thing for me is the friendships I’ve built that I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for soccer.” Kirk also enjoys the travel opportunities to places like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Seattle for tournaments.  In April, her soccer team will be going to England. She commits to five days of training and practices every week, which includes travelling into Calgary. Kirk also plays school soccer, volleyball and basketball and was previously in the Basketball Alberta training program. “Coaching or teaching a student like Ainsley is a teacher’s dream, as she always strives to achieve the highest standards and wants to become better at everything,” says Suzanne Beckett, Kirk’s coach for the school’s junior varsity volleyball team. “She has proven to be an asset to her school, community and provincial sport organizations and is a conscientious student as well.” Kirk says sports have been part of her family life since she was a child as both of her older sisters played soccer and basketball. She adds her long-term goals are to play either soccer or basketball at the university level and to coach someday.

MICHELLE EVANS “Each new test is an opportunity to realize we can do far more than we think we can.” Wise words from a woman who has lived them. Michelle Evans has been a passionate


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martial artist since her 20s, earning her first black belt in her 30s. She is now a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 44. She competed in the Netherlands at 42 and won a gold medal in sparring and a silver medal in patterns. “Going out of our comfort zone isn’t something natural to us, but it’s what creates change and builds confidence little by little,” says Evans. She is an instructor at Destiny Martial Arts and says knowing she is a role model for her students colours everything she does. “It makes me take a hard look at who I am, what I stand for and what kind of example I want to set for them as well as my own kids,” she says. The single mom says another reason martial arts appeal to her is that she can practice with her two boys. “She is not only an exceptional athlete, but a role model for the club’s students and peers,” says Stephanie Ward, who nominated Evans for the award.

SIENNA MACDONALD Seventeen-year-old track star Sienna MacDonald is going places. The Grade 12 George McDougall student has obliterated expectations by placing second in the U18 100-metre hurdles and heptathlon at the Legion Nationals 2019 in Nova Scotia last August. She says although she was a gymnast growing up and has played basketball and soccer in the past, track is her favourite sport. “Track meets are absolutely amazing; the feeling you get when getting into the blocks is incredible!” she says. “And once you start running, it’s like you’re flying. It’s just a great feeling.” Perhaps most impressive is the fact that MacDonald has only been training in track for six months. “Sienna took off at an unprecedented rate,” says Ryan Haggarty, George McDougall teacher and track coach. “She is a very gifted athlete and has the ability to succeed and do well internation-

ally for Canada, not just for Airdrie.” MacDonald attributes her incredible success to her willingness to work for it. “Hard work is a key part of being a good athlete. An athlete that has talent but no work ethic won’t necessarily get as far as an athlete who has a great work ethic,” she says. She plans to compete in the U20 category of the Legion Nationals 2020.

VANESSA BELLEGARDE Vanessa Bellegarde knows a lot about fighting her way to the top. Bellegarde is a former world amateur champion and a former world professional champion in the sport of Muay Thai. Fighting internationally, she travelled to Thailand and was the gold medallist in 1999 at the Muay Thai World Cup. After retiring at the top of her career, Bellegarde started Airdrie Martial Arts Centre 10 years ago, training children and adults in Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. “She’s incredibly active in the community, creating a safe space for children in her after-school program,” says Alexandra Owens, whose three children train under Bellegarde. “I believe she deserves this award because of her dedication to see this sport create community and family within Airdrie.” Bellegarde spearheaded Airdrie’s first women’s only Brazilian jiu-jitsu class, training women in self-defence and reallife situations. She also started a yearly women’s only Muay Thai card event. At this smoker card, she invites women from all over the world to fight in celebration of International Women’s Day, showcasing female empowerment and talent. “It is important to teach women to achieve any goal they wish; it builds confidence for them to be themselves, to carry themselves with inner confidence and attract people with the same mindset,” says Bellegarde, who has 25 years’ experience training in the sport.

VITREOUS AMAZING CULTURAL AMBASSADOR ASHLEY HUNT “Thoughtfully integrating art into community development creates a thriving city.” According to local artist Ashley Hunt, advocating for continued artistic development will greatly impact our community as a whole. Hunt graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design (now AUArts) in 2008 and is a 2-D mixed media artist, who primarily works with acrylic on canvas. She utilizes a variety of industrial finishes in her work including varnish, latex, powdered pigment and enamel, which are all combined and layered with acrylic and artist mediums to create depth and texture. “I love the ability to create something out of nothing,” she says. “I love the ability to step outside of myself and really reflect on my surroundings and bring that new perspective to the viewer.” Hunt has been the secretary of the Airdrie Regional Arts Society since January 2019. She is also a Community Arts board member and an active member of Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC). “As art making can sometimes be a solitary practice, developing a sense of community and building connections is so important,” she says. Theresa Shaw, Hunt’s mother and nominator, says Hunt has a way of inspiring everyone around her to be their best. “She has purpose inspiring other to forge ahead with confidence, to embrace life and all the changes and challenges that come along the way.”

BERYLANNE HODGINS BerylAnne Hodgins has been inspiring hope and creativity in others, as the owner of Where Memories Are Made, for the past 16 years. “The creative process is not just about the end result; it’s about the ability to explore options, have fun, discover things about yourself, learn by doing and, sometimes, it’s about failing without judgment,” she says.

“It’s a process where possibilities abound, and people are pleasantly surprised at their ability to make something out of nothing; therefore, building confidence to try even more.” Hodgins’ art studio offers classes in calligraphy, mixed media, altered art and resin artwork. She says her classes teach ‘possibilities.’ “I give people the tools and the freedom to try something different and discover what the outcomes of those decisions are,” she says. She adds that her goal is to encourage people to stretch their boundaries, own their ideas and to be proud of what they have accomplished. “BerylAnne is truly committed to making the spirit of your memories remembered in each delicately crafted piece of art,” says Rebekah Azevedo, who nominated Hodgins for the award. “Her own creations exhibit her love of colours, her patience, and her eye for understated beauty in small things.”

CHELSEA RESTALL To say Chelsea Restall is passionate about the arts in Airdrie would be an understatement. The local actor opened Torchlight Theatre in 2015 to provide locals with a safe and fun space to grow in their craft within the world of live theatre. “I think one of the things that really spurred me on was bringing great entertainment closer to home,” she says. She wanted to create a stepping-stone company – a place where emerging artists could work with seasoned professionals to learn the arts and bring theatre to the community. “Because art is such a creative and emotionally driven expression, I think it has the power to penetrate deep into people’s hearts and minds,” she says.  “It is thought provoking, it is culture creating and it is a lot of fun! “ Torchlight’s SPARK Youth Program is a place where kids can be exposed to the world of theatre.  The program offers acting classes and the opportunity for

youth to perform in productions, including Prescription: Murder by William Link and Richard Levinson, which ran from Nov. 21 to 30. “Chelsea is highly creative and works to build others up and encourage them to be their absolute best, whether they are on stage or behind the scenes,” says Kate Dekker, Restall’s friend and nominator. Torchlights performances take place at the new Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts in the Wagon Wheel Business District, behind CrossIron Mills mall.

MANDI FUSARO-SMITH As an actor, director, playwright, producer and teacher; chances are if you are involved in the arts in Airdrie, you know Mandi Fusaro-Smith. The vice president of Nose Creek Players has been interested in theatre arts since she was five years old and has been a significant part of the Airdrie theatre community for eight years. “Community theatre has a special power to bring people together, to help people feel like they have a place to call home,” she says. “Whether it’s being on stage, helping behind the scenes or coming and watching a show, it provides a sense of membership in our community.” Fusaro-Smith also teaches youth acting classes with Torchlight Theatre, which she says has allowed her to meet many extraordinary youth in the community who are passionate about the arts. This gave her the idea to spearhead a partnership between Airdrie Pride and Nose Creek Players in order to establish a safe space for people in the community so that they could come and watch a show, while getting support from Airdrie Pride. “She beautifully contributes to the soul of the community. She creates safe places for people to explore their creativity and speak their truths,” says Robin McKittrick, Fusaro-Smith’s friend and artistic partner in leading Nose Creek Players.

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HOLLY ALBERSWORTH Imagine being told not once, but twice that your painful death was imminent. Holly Albersworth was initially diagnosed with Stage 3 bilateral metastatic breast cancer in 2011 and has had six reoccurrences, eight surgeries, more than 100 chemo treatments and countless rounds of radiation. “Doctors still question how I am alive,” says the mother of two boys. “I am happy to be a miracle.” In 2013 and again in 2015, she was told she had months, at the most, to live. In April 2017, her left arm and some of her left shoulder were amputated to save her life. She is a passionate advocate for all afflicted with cancer and has given motivational speeches throughout Alberta. “I talk about resilience, adaptability, hope, and being able to control one’s own thoughts,” she says. “Humour can be found in anything (even cancer treatments).” Muriel Bostick, Albersworth’s friend and former colleague, says many people have told her what a profound impact Albersworth has had on them. “They are inspired by her and they feel if Holly can go through this ordeal with such grace, positivity and gratitude for being alive, then their problems seem so minor in comparison,” says Bostick. Albersworth is beating the odds again by currently teaching part time at the Airdrie Bow Valley College campus and taking her master of education: adult, community, and higher education at the University of Calgary.

JANE RUSSETT Jane Russett chooses to look on the bright side. “I embrace my cancer journey with an open mind and an open heart to be kinder to myself,” she says. “To make sure I see each day as a blessing and the blessings in every day. To live in the moment and make those moments magic.” Russett was first diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2014. She underwent a right mastectomy and chemotherapy, as the location of the cancer made it impossible for her to have radiation. In March 2018, the breast cancer returned with a vengeance. Russett was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and told it was incurable and had metastasized throughout her body. She was also informed that she had approximately three months to get her affairs in order. After taking three oral chemotherapy pills for more than a year, she started chemotherapy infusions in May 2019 and will continue to do so until otherwise advised by her doctors. “I don’t know what lies ahead and that’s the exciting part because already I’ve had 20 months of amazing moments when I was informed I’d only have three,” she says. Karen MacDonald, her friend and nominator, says Russett has an ability to make others feel comfortable and happy even when she is fighting her own personal battle. “Jane is a beautiful lady both inside and out and the most genuine person I have ever met. I am truly grateful she came into my life.”

MARIANNE FRENCH Marianne French is determined to protect children by working to change the laws around background checks for people who work with youth. “I think people who work with children should have child welfare checks done. Criminal checks are great, but they don’t show any complaints made, only criminal convictions” she says. “It is extremely difficult to get convictions of child sexual abuse. (Welfare checks) will show a pattern that the employer can see and make more appropriate hiring decisions.” She adds that she would like those who work with children to undergo more training to recognize signs of abuse and hopefully catch and treat it early. “I strongly feel that if we could help prevent childhood trauma (specifically child sexual abuse), we would change the trajectory of many lives,” she says, adding untreated trauma leads to a number of problems in adulthood including addiction, mental health issues, criminal behaviour, homelessness and medical issues. Coralea Bignell, French’s friend for 14 years, says French is using her own story of personal trauma and how she overcame it to make a significant difference in the lives of others. “Marianne deserves this award because she has been through so many traumatic things in her life and instead of curling up and feeling bad for herself, she is using her experiences to make other people’s lives better,” says Bignell. French spoke to members of the Calgary Police Service about her transition from powerless to fearless for Bell’s Let’s Talk day in January 2019.

The Look Every year photographer Kristy Reimer and designer Kim Williams create the perfect visuals for this program. From chalk doodles to edible props to the impressive foldout panels (2018 and 2020), it is always a challenge to think of something fresh and these two talented women make this process a joy. Here are some of my favourite images from the last 10 years.


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MELISSA BENTLEY The day Melissa Bentley was diagnosed with breast cancer will be forever etched in her memory. Like many people who hear the horrific news, she was scared, confused, shocked and overwhelmed. “I remember feeling betrayed by my body and somehow feeling like it was my fault for not taking care of myself,” she says. The Airdrie mother found the strength to fight in her two young boys. “Every time I had a bad day, or feelings of defeat, I would picture my boys as adults with children of their own and I would force myself to fight with every ounce of power inside me because I want to be a grandma one day and spoil my grandbabies rotten. I was not going to let cancer take that away from me,” she says. Lee, Bentley’s husband, is her No. 1 supporter. “Her courage to fight this and attack this head on was inspirational; she never faulted or stumbled and was determined to kick cancer’s ass,” he says. Bentley owns Little Steps Preschool and Before & After School Care and says she kept working through her 16 rounds of chemo because she wouldn’t let her cancer diagnosis consume her life. “Cancer changes you, there’s no doubt about it. But it doesn’t have to change you for the bad. Focus your energy on living the life you want and don’t let cancer define you.”

PAMELA BURRILL Pamela Burrill says if it wasn’t for the help of strangers, she wouldn’t be here today. “As a domestic violence survivor, I know the feeling of having your life nearly taken and losing everything,” she says. After hearing the story of Dawn Warden, an Airdrie woman who was violently attacked by her ex-boyfriend in June of 2019, Burrill knew she had to do something. The Dawn Warden Support for Survivors Ride took place on Aug. 11, 2019 and raised nearly $18,000 for the cause. “(Warden) had tears in her eyes because of how surrounded with love she felt and that reduced me to tears of joy as well,” says Burrill. “It’s that feeling I love. When the community can come together to help one of their own, it is such wonderful show of humanity and solidarity.” Burrill also volunteers for a number of organizations collecting items for women’s shelters, running clothing drives and providing support in court for women who are testifying against their abuser. “She has taken her suffering and turned it into a success story, while having to open her own vulnerability and share her own experiences,” says Burrill’s friend Nicole Lacoursiere. “She has such an open heart and mind and does anything she can to help others.”

Amazing Airdrie Women at the Museum Visit the Nose Creek Valley Museum until June 15 to see a display of our 10 years of Amazing Women plus a look at Airdrie’s HERstory.

Tracy Work

Jody Yakubowski

Courage in Memoriam In our first year we didn’t have a category for Amazing Courage, but it became evident by the nominations we were receiving that it was an important category to create. It became very poignant when Tracy Work, nominated in our first year for her grace and courage while battling breast cancer, passed away shortly after the awards. Since we had just created the new category, I asked Tracy’s family if we could name the Amazing Courage Award in Tracy’s honour. They graciously said yes. Tracy’s mom Doreen and daughters Emma and Kayla have attended the awards every year and we are honoured that they choose to do so. The very first recipient of the Amazing Courage Award was Jody Yakubowski and sadly, we lost her this past November. Jody was the epitome of courage and lived her life to the fullest despite so many setbacks in her health. We like to think we now have two guardian angels watching over the Amazing Airdrie Women.

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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

DAVIS CHEV AMAZING LEGACY RECIPIENT: BRENDA MOON Brenda Moon has called Airdrie home for more than two decades, and in that time, this remarkable woman has donated her skills to no less than a dozen local organizations. “When we moved here almost 23 years ago, we hardly knew a soul,” she says. “This community was very welcoming, and I quickly realized how vital it was to keep that spirit alive and growing.” She adds that the way to do that was to use the skills she had learned at her job at RBC to give back where she could. While working full time, she joined the Airdrie Pro Rodeo committee in 1997 and served as president from 2001 to 2004. While involved with the rodeo, she founded Canada’s first “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” a nationally recognized campaign and framework for rodeos and western events that promotes breast cancer awareness and raises funds for the cause. “Brenda’s best qualities are that she is a knowledgeable, strong leader and advocate,” says Haley Brietzke, who nominated Moon for the Legacy Award. “She is caring and positive but is also relentlessly determined until her goals are completed.”

“I never really thought, ‘I want to be a leader, but to me making a difference was vitally important and taking on leadership roles was my way of doing that. If you’re not already doing so, I urge you to consider taking on a leadership role – our community needs more of you!” 88

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A true fighter Moon has battled cancer twice and won the fight. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and then again (in the other breast) in 2015. True to form, she turned her personal tragedy into a positive by taking on the role of survivor spokesperson for the Airdrie Relay for Life and CIBC Run for the Cure in 2007 and 2008. “Cancer is an intensely personal journey,” she says. “For many, sharing verbally is not something they can do. I understand that, but it was something I could do, and I chose to. I hope I was giving others a voice.” She says she wanted to share that there is hope – even with a cancer diagnosis. She wanted to bring awareness to people that being told you have cancer is not a death sentence.

Moon says her mantra of ‘knowledge is power’ gave her the strength to carry on and fight through the disease. “Brenda’s legacy is showing others, especially women, that anything is possible if you are determined, willing to work hard and treat people with kindness,” says Sue Methuen, Moon’s longtime friend. Putting the culture in agriculture Since 2004, Moon has been a member of the Airdrie Agriculture Society and was president from 2009 to 2012. She spent countless hours with the Province, Rocky View County and City of Airdrie to ensure the ag society would receive a land re-designation in 2010. “Often, when we speak of ‘culture,’ we tend to forget ‘agriculture,’” she says. “I have learned so much from our ag community. I’m a city kid, born and raised in Edmonton, but just one generation off the farm. It is important to me to be a part of and to promote the western spirit of innovation, hard work and beliefs.” Since 2015, she has also donated her time to Airdrie Food Bank. Through the ag society and the Airdrie Community Kitchen, she has mentored classes in herbs and preserves. “I have planted and maintained the culinary herb garden on the south side of the Rotary Community Kitchen at the food bank for the past three years,” says Moon. “I also helped develop and present a  ‘Preserving Your Skills’ hands-on workshop, designed to share how to preserve foods by canning them, with food safety a top priority.” If all of this wasn’t impressive enough, Moon has also given her time to the Farm Women’s Conference and volunteered at Airdrie Public Library (APL). “I assisted  with a number of strategic planning sessions and developed close relationships with some of the wonderful people at our library,” she says. “I was also asked to be part of a short  video showcasing the many benefits of APL – and technology – in a fun way. And we did have a lot of fun with that!”

TD BANK AMAZING PROMISE ABBY SENSABAUGH Abby Sensabaugh is a leader. The Grade 12 W.H. Croxford High School student has attended the Canadian and Alberta National Leadership Conferences for the past two years and helps run the Rocky View School Division Middle School Leadership Conference through her work in the Rocky View Leadership Academy. “I love both of these programs equally as they align very well with my passion for adding value to other people’s lives every day,” says Sensabaugh. “I would say that a good leader isn’t always the one on stage presenting a massive project; it’s those who work to get them to that point.” Sensabaugh says the youth in the community are often viewed as reckless or careless. The youth in Airdrie, she adds, have the potential to change the world but are often forgotten because they are seen as ‘too young to understand.’ “She is a massive part of our leadership class and spends countless hours making sure our school culture is positive,” says Carol Smith, leadership teacher at the school. “She leads by example every day and although she may not know it, every younger leadership student goes to her to get advice.” Sensabaugh also spends countless hours volunteering with Stephen’s Backpacks, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Rotary Club of Airdrie, Big Brother Big Sisters, Airdrie Food Bank and Volunteer Airdrie. After high school, her goal is to go to the University of New Brunswick for the leadership program to minor in education or business.

BAILEE-DAWN ROWAT There is no question in Bailee-Dawn’s mind – she will be a sports medicine doctor one day. “When I graduate, I want to specialize in athletic training (like what I’m doing for

my school). I want to prevent injuries and help people when they are hurt,” says the 16-year-old W.H. Croxford High School student. Rowat is the athletic trainer of the school’s basketball and football teams. Although she finds working on the injuries from football exciting, she prefers basketball because it is indoors. “She is always ready and willing to take the lead in anything that needs to be done,” says Collin Ralko, phys-ed teacher at W.H. Croxford High School. “If I call upon her for anything, she will do it without complaints, and a smile on her face. She is a Grade 11 student that I can confidently say is prepared to take on the ‘real world’ independently.” Rowat doesn’t just help people on the field and court, she has also volunteered with Airdrie Food Bank. “I think it is important for people to volunteer  their time to help the  organizations in their community to show support in many different ways,” she says.

KADIE JOHNSTON Sixteen-year-old Kadie Johnston is a team player. The Grade 11 W.H. Croxford High School student has played soccer since she was six years old and says her favourite aspect of the game is the fact that it teaches an athlete how to work as part of a team and strive for common goals. “Plays work when a team works together. Wins are just that much more rewarding when every player had a part in it,” she says. She adds soccer is a game of creativity, stamina, awareness, anticipation and drive that always keeps you on your toes. “In soccer, I always have to be thinking and getting ready for the next play, even when I don’t have the ball and there is nothing sweeter than anticipating an opponent’s pass and intercepting it before it meets its target,” she says. Laural Kuntz, Johnston’s soccer coach and math and science teacher, says she supports her peers and leads with her passion for excellence without looking for anything in return.

“She is amazing at soccer and that dedication has translated over to her academics, where she modestly supports and works with her peers to create a positive dynamic environment, just by her nature and strength of character.”

MACKENZIE COX Mackenzie Cox never imagined she would be a published author of a children’s book at the age of 17. “It has taken me two years to finally get my book officially published and it has truly been worth all the waiting and effort. It doesn’t quite feel real yet,” says the Grade 12 W.H. Croxford High School student. Cox wrote the book, available on Amazon, as part of the Visual Arts and Media (VAM) Academy in her school when she was in Grade 10. When I Grow Up is about Baxter the bear, who wants to become an owl when he grows up. His friends find his dream silly, but they help him and learn that Baxter can become whoever he wants to be. “I wrote this book with the hope to teach children that their dreams matter and they can become whoever they want to be when they grow up,” says Cox. Although she says the book was written with children ages four to 10 in mind, Cox adds people of all ages can benefit from the message that everyone’s dreams deserve a chance. As part of the VAM Academy, Cox is working on writing and illustrating her second book, What Makes Me Special! After high school, she plans to go to the University of Lethbridge to become a teacher. “Macki has an incredibly positive attitude,” says Vernon Gray, teacher at W.H. Croxford. “She has a way of lighting up a classroom,” says Gray. “I am sure that she will make a great teacher. “Her caring nature is infectious.”

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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

CREAM BODY & BATH AMAZING DETERMINATION BARB WOOLSEY As a handicap bus driver and caretaker to a young man in a wheelchair, Barb Woolsey noticed a need that wasn’t being met in the community. She felt people with disabilities in Airdrie deserved a place to feel included, have fun and make friends – so she created one. She has been president of the Airdrie Abilities Centre Society (AACS) since 2014. AACS provides athletic and recreational programs to support people’s physical needs, mental health and emotional well-being. “I’m passionate about this because I noticed that there were people in the special needs community that weren’t connected,” Woolsey says. “I realized that there were many people in Airdrie who needed to know they were a part of a community. I wanted people to have a place to feel respected. A place to be part of a family, to feel like they are valued.” AACS is committed to creating equal opportunities to support and demonstrate the strengths and abilities of people with special needs. Some of the activities they offer include sewing, painting, wood working, exercise, theatre performance, cooking and many more. “Barb creates a safe place for people with disabilities and those who care for them,” says Ashley Leusink, Woolsey’s nominator. “She just loves people in Airdrie no matter what they may be struggling with.”

AMANDA UBELL Amanda Ubell doesn’t just take pictures, she creates emotion. “Every photo should show emotion and evoke some type  of feeling from the person seeing it,” says the local photographer, who has been in the field for 12 years. Ubell specializes in event photography but says her passion reaches many styles and subjects including kids, grads, families, travel, wildlife, landscape and sports. She entered into the trade in a unique way when she owned an Arabian horse breeding farm in Saskatchewan. She needed good marketing and sales photos of her horses, so she bought a camera. Soon she was taking photos for friends, colleagues and at horse shows. Rylee Smolarchuk has been learning photography techniques from Ubell and says the photographer devotes so much of her time to making sure she is giving everyone her best work. “She has spent countless hours with me teaching me new techniques to get the shots I truly want,” says Smolarchuk “Her dedication to her family and her job have really inspired me to thrive for better in every aspect of my life.” Ubell says she enjoys passing her knowledge on to others and she often gets as much out of it as they do. “I love creating and having a vision come to life,” she says.  “I love sharing this love with others and seeing them get as excited as I do.”

KATIE LI-BROUSSARD Dr. Katie Li-Broussard has made a few monumental choices in her life. The first involved putting aside her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience to enroll in acupuncture school. “There were many trying moments during this time. There were so many uncertainties of how life would unfold, but what I did hold close to my heart was knowing no matter what was thrown my way, I was going to be a strong role model to my daughter and continue to finishing my pursuit to my career,” she says. Her next influential decision came when she moved her family to Airdrie and opened up Airdrie Acupuncture two years ago. “I was thrown into true entrepreneurship and it has been the scariest and most rewarding endeavour I have ever experienced,” she says. Last year, she and her business partner took part in the City of Airdrie’s SMARTstart program and Li-Broussard says the relationships she built during the process have made her a champion of local business. “In these past years, she has created, inspired and aided many others in achieving change. Her presence in this city has grown and keeps expanding as she helps more and more people,” says her daughter Madison Broussard.

A writer’s thoughts Writer Stacie Gaetz shares her impressions of interviewing and writing about this year’s nominees: “What I learned from interviewing the 44 nominees for the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards was that they have no idea just how inspiring they truly are. While I was talking to these ladies who do remarkable things every day from advocating for minority groups, to beating devastating diseases, to winning world championships, in almost every case, the conversation turned to how they can help someone else. “These women are some of the most selfless and generous I have ever had the pleasure of talking to and they give back to their community in meaningful ways on top of their other extraordinary achievements and the obstacles they’ve overcome.”


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LORRAINE ZWICKER It’s never too late to get healthy. Lorraine Zwicker came to this realization at the age of 55 when she decided if she didn’t change her habits soon, she would be a cripple by the time she was 60. “Because of my weight, I had severe joint pain and I knew if I wanted to change, I had to get off my butt and make it happen,” she says. Since her first day at Airdrie Fit Body Boot Camp in February 2017, Zwicker has transformed her body weight by reducing her body fat percentage by over 10 per cent. In 2018, she was the winner of the Aloha Family Challenge. In 2019, she registered more than 500 sessions at Fit Body Boot Camp. She is currently leading group sessions on Monday evenings to support other men and women in their journey to better health. “The simple fact that I have been recognized and trusted enough to share my journey, my struggles and my thoughts with a group of like-minded individuals in order to help them reach their goals gives me an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment,” says Zwicker. Rebekah Azevedo, co-owner of Airdrie Fit Body Boot Camp, says Zwicker has become a mentor to her and many others. “The community culture we pride our facility in having is largely because of Lorraine’s participation in all activities,” she says. “Her spirit and compassionate nature give us the strength as business owners to keep fighting for an outcome that some days seems unreachable.”

MEGAN SKARSEN Imagine becoming the owner of a small business and immediately being diagnosed with a debilitating disease. That’s what happened to Megan Skarsen in 2010 when she was told she had multiple sclerosis (MS) just months after purchasing Woodside Denture Centre.

“Since I had just bought my clinic, there was no way that I was able to take time off to be able to process my diagnosis,” she says. “To me, being diagnosed with MS was worse than being diagnosed with a deadly disease because I felt like it would be torture to have to be alive and watch myself lose functions at an unknown pace.” Throughout the years, Megan has struggled with vision issues, limitations in motor dexterity and walking. When she was diagnosed, she needed to lean against something in order to walk and was unable to do simple things like cut food or brush her hair. Skarsen says her family and friends gave her the strength she needed to continue working, take the time to attend doctors’ appointments and manage her stress. “Megan is one who inspires me and many others around her with her drive, compassion and optimism in life,” says Edmund Chin, Skarsen’s friend and employee. “Megan’s perseverance and optimistic thinking have achieved more than many with or without disorders. She has never let her diagnosis hold her back from anything that she strives to do.” 

“How many stairs can I walk without using the handrail? How many more  can I do using the handrail? Focusing on doing what I could every day and looking to what I could add in the future.” Nicole Lacoursiere, owner of Body By Nic Personal Training, says McAllister is truly an amazing woman and an inspiration. “Her greatest qualities are her nevergive-up attitude combined with an amazing giving heart.”

SHERI MCALLISTER Sheri McAllister was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2005 and went from a body building athlete to paralyzed in less than one week. Guillain-Barre is a rare autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack your nerves, according to Health Link. It causes muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, numbness or tingling in the arms, legs and face and paralysis in severe cases. “It was a game changer,” says McAllister. “It gave me a new  perspective on the word ‘can’t.’ It also made me realize I had to focus on what was important to me and go after it, even if I didn’t know what the outcome would be.” As a woman who was always full of energy, McAllister says falling ill made her take stock of what was important in life and that made her more determined than ever to regain her mobility. “I  made myself walk the  hospital  stairs every day until I couldn’t,” she says.

Special thanks to Nose Creek Valley Museum and curator Laurie Harvey. Below is the list of artefacts used in the cover photo from left to right.


1. Circa 1920s, BT Wringer Washer 2. Butter Churn with Plunger, made by Medalta Potteries Ltd, early 1900s 3. Double Carbon Button Broadcast microphone, 1936 4. Glass Coal Oil Lamp (date unknown) 5. Sewing basket stand – Circa 1912 6. Roger’s Majestic Model R406 radio, circa 1930s 7. Toaster – Renfrew Electric and Refridgerator Ltd., circa 1950s 8. Phonograph – Edison – 1916 Model, last series made, 1916 9. Hand-held egg beater (date unknown) 10. Telephone – circa 1940s 11. Washboard – Marshall Wells Co Ltd., circa 1900s 12. Hair brush and mirror (date unknown) 13. Spinner – Spinning Wheel, circa 1950s, handmade

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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

PHARMASAVE ON CENTRE AMAZING HEART BRYTANNI ROSS A local mom is teaching her four-year-old daughter in a meaningful way that everyone matters. Last year, Brytanni Ross decided to use her daughter Scarlett’s birthday as a reason to give back to the community and teach a lesson in the process. “I started doing charities every year before my daughter’s birthday as a way to teach her kindness to all and how important community is,” says Ross. In 2018, the family ran a charity called Scarlett’s Mittens. They collected more than 460 different winter necessities such as gloves, boots, coats and socks for homeless people in Calgary. The Drop-In Centre and Helping the Homeless distributed the items. “Scarlett was over the moon that she was able to hand items to people that needed them the most,” says Ross. The 2019 fundraiser focused on animals with proceeds going to five different animal shelters. “Everyone matters no matter how big or how small; if they are furry friends or just someone we are passing on the street, everyone deserves kindness and you really can change a life,” says Ross. Tiffany Newhook is Ross’s friend and nominator and says the generous mom goes above and beyond for anyone in need. “She has ventured out countless times in the dark and rain when someone needed help. She is a genuine person with a heart of gold that wants to pass that on to her daughter and the way she conducts herself is truly inspiring.”

DEBI MACLEOD Debi Macleod isn’t someone who wants to be featured in the spotlight. You’re much more likely to find her in the kitchen than on the stage but according to the customers of her business, Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe, she deserves some recognition. The bakery has been open for 10 years and is a well-known and loved staple in the community. Last year, Macleod added something even more amazing to her dessert lineup when she created plant-based products that are corn, soy and sugar free and vegan so those with autoimmune diseases have access to something delicious. “The fact that Debi spent time to do this really shows her love of her clients and care for their well-being,” says Lisa Ammirati, a regular at Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe. “I have never met a fellow businesswoman who is so deeply caring and involved in her business and outside of her business.” In addition to countless other acts of generosity, Macleod donates food from the bakery to Airdrie Food Bank every day and to Calgary Helping Homeless Community every Saturday. “Giving back to the community is a no brainer to me,” she says. “Why wouldn’t you? It’s how you keep your doors open. We are still a small business and I feel humbled every day that people want to walk through our door and support us.”

KATHERINE MOONEY Katherine Mooney believes that everyone deserves access to mental health support. The registered psychologist and owner of Restored Wellness Psychology and Counselling Centre has worked tirelessly for the past four years “to provide accessible mental health services to anyone in the community regardless of age, presenting concern or financial situation.” In addition, she volunteers her time to supervise graduate master’s degree practicum students, who work with clients on a “pay what they can” basis. Through this volunteer commitment, practicum students at Restored Wellness have provided more than 3,500 hours of service to the people of Airdrie. “She is kind, selfless, driven, articulate, caring, passionate, determined, devoted and truly an amazing person,” says Jenn LaSaga, Mooney’s employee and nominator. “She is a busy mom of four, wife, friend, full-time student, business owner and still offers high-quality care to her full caseload of clients every day.” Mooney says she works as hard as she does because she knows what it is like to need help. “Airdrie was my home long before I was a business owner,” she says. “Community services and funding, locally and from our Province, has helped to put food on my family’s table during times when I was in need, and that support has made it possible for me to obtain my education and training so that I can give back to others.”

The awards The first year we gave handcrafted clay plaques by artist Tracy Lee Shannon with a symbol to represent the theme of the categories. In 2012 Christine Taylor of HooDoo Designs was commissioned to create necklaces for each category. They proved so popular we continued to present custom necklaces each year. For 2020 Christine is switching it up and creating bracelets for each recipient.




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LAURA HUDSON Laura Hudson, owner of Woof Pack Dog Walking & Pet Services, believes in building a collaborative community. This is evident in the fact that the owner of a competing business nominated her for an award. “Laura is an extraordinary business owner who has deep compassion for her canine clients, the dog owners and her staff,” says Donna Barrett, owner of Polite Pups Training. “Laura creates goodwill and enriches others’ lives though her positive presence, outlook and indefatigable heart.” Hudson took over Woof Pack from the previous owner, for whom she worked, in March of 2015. “I had no idea what to expect but I felt like it was something I have wanted to do my whole life and I needed to run with this and make it work,” she says. The business has three employees and offers on-leash walks, potty breaks (where a team member comes to your home to let your dog out during the day) and in-home pet sitting. In addition to running her own business, Hudson recently provided end-of-life care to her terminally ill father by being at his bedside daily. “There were so many days that I sat by his side wondering how I was going to continue to do this and run this business,” she says. She says her family and friends, including Barrett, made it possible for her to juggle her business, family life and grief.

SHANNON ISAAC Shannon Isaac is helping shape the future of Airdrie. Isaac has been involved with the Girl Guides for 26 years, initially starting as a member herself, and working as a leader for the past 14 years. “What I enjoy the most about being a leader is the opportunity to mentor and help girls challenge themselves and grow,” she says. “Guiding is a girl-centred program that is focused on empowering young women to be the best people they can be regardless of circumstance.” Isaac says the program was recently revamped so the girls decide what’s important to them and take part in activities that revolve around those interests. “She always places other people before her, as is her giving nature and her desire to do good for others,” says Rebekah Azevedo, Isaac’s friend and nominator. “She teaches and guides the young girls –including my daughter who was a part of the Girl Guides program last year – to have skills and helps builds self-confidence by accepting themselves and their abilities.” Isaac says one of the most rewarding experiences she has had in her time with the Guides was last year when she took part in a leader trip to one of the world centres in Switzerland.

Amazing Recipients 2019

Robin Bishop – Promise Danielle Edwards – Determination Sarah Cormier – Courage Wendy Timmermans – Leadership Kimberly Ford – Heart


Katherine Funk – Promise Kara Fulton- Determination Victoria Scattergood – Courage Marie Lauer- Leadership Crystal Boys – Heart


Elena Mitevska – Promise Amanda Delahay – Determination Lovepreet Deo – Courage Lisa Mundell-Lawrence – Leadership Nancy McPhee – Heart


Miranda Schmidt – Promise Sylvia Schultz – Determination Christina Sackett Toews – Courage Leona Esau – Leadership Michelle Bates – Heart


Caitlin Prater-Haacke – Promise Karen MacDonald – Determination Candy Adams – Courage Laurie Jacob Toews – Leadership Michele Gray – Heart


Breanne McPhee – Promise Danielle Polsom – Determination Mackenzie Murphy – Courage Linda Bruce – Leadership Linda Ray – Heart


Missing mentor, future promise! Kendra Arnason could not attend the big photo shoots at the end of January for a very important reason: she was in hospital awaiting the birth of a future Amazing Woman! She and husband Jason’s “miracle babe” Layne Clara Arnason was born Feb. 1, 2020, and was still in ICU when we went to press. We wish Layne and her parents the very best. Welcome to the world, Layne!

Taryn McKeage – Promise Samreen Junaid – Determination Terri Amey – Courage Shelley Bitz – Leadership Lori Rehill – Heart


Taelyr Patton – Promise Jennifer Ruklic – Determination Jody Yakubowski – Courage Lori McRitchie – Leadership Marthe Demarais- Moen – Heart


Chesley Dawes – Strength Jan Morrison – Compassion Karen MacDonald - Leadership

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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

MCKEE HOMES AMAZING MENTOR ELLISA PODEMSKI Ellisa Podemski believes when you put the time and effort into teaching a young athlete, they learn much more than how to kick a ball or handle a stick. Podemski has been coaching boys’ soccer in Airdrie for six years and she says she sees players develop many skills over the course of a season including teamwork, perseverance, compassion, grace, kindness and supportiveness. “They develop time management skills as they have to balance both practices and school, and organizational skills to ensure they are prepared for both practices and games,” she says. “They practice goal setting and focus exercises that will hopefully help them become successful in setting and achieving their long-term dreams.” She says what is most rewarding about coaching is watching the players develop as athletes and as young human beings and seeing them form strong bonds with their teammates. “Ellisa is teaching our young athletes how to work as a team, how to set goals, how to challenge themselves, and how to be aware and accountable, not only to themselves but also to the team, parents and coaches as a whole,” says Erin Leggett, whose son plays on the U12 club soccer team that Podemski coaches. “These are all transferable qualities and skills that will no doubt help them in becoming successful young adults and contributing members of our community in the future.”

KELSEY DAVIDSON Kelsey Davidson embodies the spirit of a trusted tutor, coach, counsellor and mentor in everything she does. Since 2014, she has run Alive Fitness, a fitness and empowerment program for women. In 2018, she created Alive, Strong and Fearless, which is a program specially designed for girls ages eight to 15 that promotes empowerment and personal growth.




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The program helps build confidence through fitness activities and journaling in a safe, fun environment. “We are branching out to give all girls the opportunity to be empowered and to strengthen their voice,” says Davidson. “When I have the opportunity to show a woman or a girl that she can strengthen her voice while strengthening her body – and thus become limitless in whatever she sets out to accomplish – I’m busting out my happy dance!” The programs are 12 weeks long with 40 minutes of fitness, including yoga and obstacle courses,  and 20 minutes of discussion and empowerment. “Kelsey’s best qualities are her positivity towards every situation, dedication to her family and everyone that comes into contact with her, and her passion for the empowerment of girls and women through her many programs,” says Marnie Smith, Davidson’s close friend and former colleague. Davidson is also involved with Quinn’s Legacy Society and Airdrie BMX. In 2018, she organized Airdrie’s first breast cancer run, which evolved into Airdrie’s first CIBC Run for the Cure in 2019.

KENDRA ARNASON Kendra Arnason is not your average teacher. The learning specialist at Northcott Prairie School goes above and beyond to help children reach their potential. “She is such a caring, motivational and inspirational mentor and she always takes the time to guide students on the right path,” says Jennifer Grieve, whose Grade 7 daughter was taught by Arnason in Grades 4 and 5 at Herons Crossing. “I attribute a huge part of my daughter’s and other students’ success to her.” Arnason says teachers have a lot to learn from children and in giving them voice and choice in their learning, “we build learners who are confident and impactful.” “I do what I can to create a strong classroom community, built on trust, compassion and kindness,” she says. “I focus on being a role model for my students and provide a strong example of

leadership each day.” One of the ways she has done this is through Operation Joy in 2017 and 2018 when she and her Grade 5 class at Herons Crossing raised more than $3,000 for Ronald McDonald House. “It was an incredible experience for our kids; one that I hope they carry with them forever,” she says.

KENDRA PHILLIPS Owner of Star Bound Dance Company, Kendra Phillips, has dedicated almost two decades of her life to helping create not just talented dancers but well-rounded human beings. “I strive to make sure that our dancers not only get a dance education but a life education,” she says. “We encourage our students to hold themselves to the highest standards and promote teamwork, friendship and kindness.” She said dancing teaches children so much more than how to move. “(Children learn) discipline, to never give up, teamwork, camaraderie, goal making, follow through, dedication and self-discipline,” she says. Lisa Brade’s son has danced at the studio for five years and she says Phillips has made a measurable impact on his life through her incredible dedication. “Our son has been mentored by Miss Kendra as she has a heart to see a male dancer in a small town grow and develop,” says Brade. “She recognizes the challenges and has helped shape the way for him.” Phillips says she’s not necessarily trying to create a culture where male dancers are accepted, but one where all dancers are equal and being male is not notable at all. “Jude is definitely at the forefront in our studio in that he has set a standard of acceptance by simply being who he is,” she says. “I am inspired by him every day, not because he is a boy dancing, but because he is a dancer who loves what he does and has his mind and heart set on pursing that.” Phillips currently teaches 13 male dancers in the studio, including her son.

MICHELLE CARRE Michelle Carre openly admits that as a business owner, she has made many great decisions as well as a few terrible ones. That’s why she is willing to help other local entrepreneurs navigate the ups and downs of owning a small business in Airdrie and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls. “I believe strongly in the value of a community and the best way to build community is to help one another,” she says. “It’s always a ripple effect too. If I can help one person build a business, they can help many customers with their business.” Carre, a local Realtor since 2006, was an entrepreneur enrolled in the Airdrie’s SMARTstart program in 2016. After seeing what the program had to offer, she joined as a mentor in 2018. SMARTstart provides real-world business skills and access to tailor-made advice to increase the chance of new businesses surviving those first crucial years. Morgan Sylvain, co-owner of Smile & Co. Dental Temping Agency, is currently being mentored by Carre and she says her guidance and support has been more than she could have ever asked for. “She has inspired new ideas, picked us up when we were defeated and made us laugh on the most stressful of days,” says Sylvain. “She is witty, genuine, positive and basically a breath of fresh air. I cannot think of anyone who would be more deserving of an Amazing Airdrie Women Award.”

MICHELLE CYRZAN Michelle Cyrzan is helping Airdrie children reach their full potential. The former Grade 1 French immersion teacher has been the learning support teacher and literacy coach at École Edwards Elementary School for four years. Her role involves teaching small-group literacy instruction to students who require extra reading support as well as working with teachers to provide them with tools and resources to help each student succeed. “It’s gratifying to work with a student

who is a non-reader or struggling reader, and after working collaboratively with their teacher, see them learn to read, understand what they have read, and have an enjoyment of reading,” she says. In addition to her work with students, Cyrzan volunteers for the school’s Terry Fox Run and she and her daughters donate their time to Tails to Tell Animal Rescue Centre in Crossfield. “Michelle is always contributing to conversation in a positive and caring way with her colleagues and encourages all students equally as she believes that everyone can achieve success,” says Carolane Contant, Cyrzan’s colleague and nominator.

NIKKI NORDICK From dog walker to successful entrepreneur, Nikki Nordick has learned a thing or two over the past five years. “Through the love and support of our amazing community, we’ve grown Airdrie Puppy Pals from me  walking one  dog named Hoodoo once a day, to a team of 15 with two  daycare  locations. I’m very grateful for every success we’ve had along the way,” she says. Nordick shows her appreciation by giving back to the community in a number of ways, including volunteering as the vice president of the chamber of commerce, raising money for the Alberta SPCA and Airdrie Food Bank, and helping other entrepreneurs through the SMARTstart program. “She is a successful entrepreneur with a passion for helping others and enhancing the business community,” says Darcy Forbes, president of the Chamber. “Nikki is happy to give advice with her experience of starting a local business, opening a storefront and expanding the business.” Nordick says “being an entrepreneur is a crazy journey with a lot of ups and downs” and sometimes business owners need help navigating the twists and turns. “As I grow, it’s important to share the lessons I’ve learned to help other entrepreneurs  along their journey. By lifting each other up and supporting one  another, we can make our community an even more amazing place to live, work and play.”

SHELLEY ARMITAGE Soccer is in Shelley Armitage’s blood. The mother of two boys played the game at the collegiate, university and provincial levels. As a teenager, she wanted to share her love of the sport with other female athletes. Once she had her own children, it was an easy transition to coaching boys and she has now been leading teams for 18 years. “Soccer has shaped my life in such a positive way from a very young age that coaching is a way to give back and promote the sport that has given me so much,” says Armitage. According to the parents of the boys U12 club soccer team, Armitage has had a lifelong impact and lasting impression on the kids she coaches. “Shelley has created such a positive and caring space for our young athletes to learn not only the game of soccer, but more importantly, to learn lifelong skills and qualities such as respect, discipline, perseverance, resiliency and mindfulness,” says Erin Leggett, whose son plays on the team. “These skills have, in turn, elevated our son’s confidence, self-esteem, sense of focus and self-worth.” Leggett says Armitage is the epitome of what a coach should be; someone who inspires their athletes to believe in themselves and to do more than they think they can.

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2020 Amazing Airdrie Women

PINK WAND AMAZING WORKPLACE ASTORIA ASSET MANAGEMENT Astoria Asset Management provides a workplace of individuality, encouragement and support. “Astoria deserves this award because they foster a workplace environment that allows for individuality and personal growth as well as supporting their staff loyally through life and work challenges,” says Renee Doucette, property manager at Astoria. Lorelei Talbot, owner and broker for Astoria, says everyone has challenges in life and when she can support them to become better in the workplace, or in life in general, she does. “This is important to me because so many women have been held back in their lives and don’t know how great they are. Owning Astoria has enabled me to empower women to see beyond life as it is to what life could be,” she says. “I see the strengths in people, and I empower them to see their strengths for themselves.” She says Astoria has an education program where staff is encouraged to take part in industry courses as well as personal growth seminars. Astoria also offers staff paid days off to volunteer within the community. Talbot says, as a local business owner, it is important to give back to the community. The company’s largest and most wellknown contribution is the Astoria Annual Charity Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $300,000 for Airdrie Food Bank over the past 12 years. “Astoria would not be here without the community. Airdrie has supported me and Astoria in so many ways, so giving back is the right thing to do,” she says.

CARMEN A. VETIAN PROFESSIONAL CORP. Carmen Vetian says a good employer makes their staff feel like family. The owner of Carmen A. Vetian Professional Corporation, which offers accounting, tax and financial solutions, says she places high importance on mentoring and


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empowering her staff to continue to grow in their career, achieve their goals and to celebrate their successes. “A good employer understands the importance of good work-life balance, which will decrease employee stress,” she adds. “I ensure my staff enjoy coming to work, feel that they are appreciated and know that I am here to support them in their careers as well. It is my belief that a successful business is the result of the hard work and dedication of the whole team not just the owner.” She says she supports the team mentality by hosting a weekly potluck lunch, allowing staff to socialize over a home-cooked meal. They also schedule team-building activities to bring colleagues together outside of the office. “She encourages her staff to be continually learning and has provided opportunities for them to grow,” said Caitlyn Terlesky, Vetian’s employee of four years. “She goes above and beyond for everyone in her life to ensure that they are taken care of.”

NORTH ROCKY VIEW COMMUNITY LINKS North Rocky View Community Links has been providing services and resources to local families for nearly 40 years. The non-profit organization provides individuals and families with and connects them to services, supports and resources. “Women are pivotal to the success of Community Links,” says Brenda Hume, executive director of the charitable organization. “We demonstrate collaborative leadership within community initiatives, are direct decision makers, and are dedicated to understanding the diversity and complexity of families and the reality of family life in Airdrie.” Community Links supports a work-life balance for women by providing a variety of flexible work arrangements to manage work and volunteer time, caregiving responsibilities and educational needs. “Empowerment, compassion and support are pillars of the organization from

both a workplace perspective and a service delivery model,” says Hume. “We strive for all women to inspire and advance their participation in the workplace and in their own journey of development.” Community Links family resource services manager Barb Gross has worked with the organization for 22 years. She says the non-profit is making a difference for families in the community, while fostering a supportive work environment. “Many of us have struggled with the challenges of raising children and it is a privilege to pass on our knowledge, experience and understanding to families on their parenting journey,” she says.

THE HAIR LOUNGE The Hair Lounge helps women find their inner and outer beauty by offering much more than a hairstyle. “I am so proud to call these strong, professional, independent women my coworkers,” says Dawn Bittorf, who works at The Hair Lounge. “Wendy (Bates, owner) has been open for 11 years and the longest employee has been with her for 10 years with the others being there nearly as long. That just goes to show the support and great work environment we have here at The Hair Lounge.” Bates says it is a goal of hers to help women become ‘strong, independent and successful’ both as her employees and her clients. She also gives back to the community in a big way by hosting events such as $10 Hair Cut Day that has raised more than $40,000 for the Snack Attack program, while providing affordable haircuts for kids as they go back to school. The Hair Lounge has also been involved in initiatives that have raised $20,000 for Airdrie Food Bank and the health foundation.  Bates has been a Rotarian for 10 years, sits on the Boys and Girls Club board and was a member of the food bank board for four years.  “Our motto at The Hair Lounge is to ‘support a community, that supports us,’” says Bates.  “Supporting our community has always been a big part of our culture.”  life

Make yourself at home

MLS C4281806

Redline Real Estate Group | 210 7015 Macleod Trail SE Calgary, AB T2H 2K6

10 The most amazing night in Airdrie


Thursday, April 30 6:30 p.m.

44 nominees | 10 awards

Tickets $35

$5 from every ticket sold goes to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.


Prosecco & Dessert Reception

Special performance by

Deanne Matley Trio




AVENUE Cakery & Bakeshoppe

POWER of ART Silent Auction 10 curated works of art by women artists. 50% of proceeds to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.

*50% of proceeds go to the artists

PHARMACY HOURS: • Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. • Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. • Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Compounding Pharmacy Prescribing Pharmacist Smoking Cessation Diabetic Education Blister Packs Wound Care Sport Braces

• • • • • • •

Ostomy Supplies Foot Care Home Care Compression Garments Mastectomy Care Supplies Wheel Chair and Walker Rentals Breast Pump Rentals



LIVE SHOP PLAY The best places have it all!

Cooper’s Crossing has been voted Airdrie’s best community seven years in a row. There’s now more to love as we’ve launched a new phase – The Reynolds Collection. Featuring single family and attached homes, the Reynolds Collection provides more affordable options in Airdrie’s premier community.

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