your LIFE. your mAgAzInE
TASTE Airdrie’s good LIFE
MAN of FIRE Mike Dingle
HOT new ideas for your home
Recipes FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
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proud media supporter of the Airdrie Centennial 2009 Vol. 6 | no. 1
lIFEstyle | COMMuNITY | HOMES | CITY | WOrKS
March 1, 2010
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A MASTER PL ANNED COMMUNIT Y BY
SPONSOR OF AIRDRIE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Sherry Shaw-Froggatt Vanessa Peterelli
Anne Beaty, Joan Bell, Sergei Belski, Stacey Carefoot, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Ellen Kelly, Kurtis Kristianson, Carl Patzel, Brad Racette, Kristy Reimer Web Manager
LIFENote Got dinner plans? If you don’t you will after reading
our winter issue of AirdrieLIFE. This is officially our first
Wendy Potter-Duhaime Lindsay Krausnick
“fourth” issue of the year which means we completed
our first quarterly publication schedule ever and to
Jeff Cummings, Kim Delves
celebrate we’d like to do what anyone else does: share the success with good friends, good times and
Editorial firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Web email@example.com Accounting firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether it’s dinner out at one of the growing selection of Airdrie restaurants or saying “potluck – everyone bring a dish,” we all love to share a meal with friends and so we bring you a food-themed issue, from my top 10 faves (see page 36),
Where to find us AirdrieLIFE is delivered by Canada Post to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue in your mailbox please email email@example.com AirdrieLIFE is also available at over 50 locations around the city including the Airdrie Calgary Co-op. You can also find AirdrieLIFE in every show home in the city and at over 100 locations in Calgary. AirdrieLIFE is published quarterly by Frog Inc with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development.
to reasons why you may never want to bake again, to our cheesiest contest ever. (Yes, you win cheese!) We also take a closer look at a gluten-free diet, see why learning and breakfast go hand in hand and discover future Food Channel superstars at our high schools. Earlier this winter AirdrieLIFE was pleased to host our first-ever Photo Exhibit & Sale in support of Airdrie Housing Limited. It was a fabulous affair. With the joint efforts of the Homestead Restaurant, Avenue Bakery, Calgary Co-op and four amazing photographers we demonstrated Airdrie can host a classy event and we are delighted to share our memories (and recipes!) of this evening with you. How far can we stretch our food theme? How about great ideas for kitchen
Economic Development Leona Esau, 403.948.8844 Communications Tara Richards, 403.948.8800
VOLUME 6, NUMBER 1
counters and a look at Airdrie’s water supply. And how about how restaurants will revitalize our downtown core?
Recipes for success? We have them, from a super active breakfast club, to our
Contents copyright 2009 by Frog Inc. May not be reproduced without permission. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher.
annual Winning Edge profiles, to international kudos to the Airdrie Economic
EDITORIAL POLICY AirdrieLIFE editorial is not for sale. Editorial is completely independent from advertising, and no special editorial consideration or commitment of any kind can form any part of the advertising agreement. All editorial inquiries must be directed toward the editor. A copy of Frog Inc Writers’ Guidelines can be downloaded from the editorial page on our web site.
Development team. Plus we have artists, musicians, athletes and just in time for your year-end planning, a finance feature. With our unpredictable winter now upon us (will it be -20 or +20?) one thing you can count on is for AirdrieLIFE to share with you the stories that matter and interest you the most. So pour yourself a glass of merlot or a steaming cup of cocoa and join us for a taste of Airdrie.
AirdrieLIFE does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Editor & Publisher 6 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Great value, and an exceptional array of home styles, in a community that’s just minutes from Calgary. With outstanding amenities, and a small town pace that’s a bit more relaxed, King’s Heights represents value that you just won’t find anywhere else. Except on the right side of Airdrie.
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I always find the winter months to be a great time to reconnect with people because we are all stuck inside (or outside with no snow to play in and it’s too cold for road hockey) so we need diversions. Small or elaborate get-togethers, it doesn’t matter, all it takes is good company (and my hint – really, really good music) and our contributors this issue have some good advice too!
ALEx FRAzER-HARRISON, writer
– Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, publisher
Welcome to our newest contributor Kurtis Kristianson who photographed our fundraising evening for Airdrie Housing Limited (on page 34) KURTIS KRISTIANSON is an adventure lifestyle photographer, spending most of his time in the Rockies climbing and kite skiing. He owns and operates Spindrift Photography in Crossfield, Alberta, where he lives with his wife and two kids.
ANNE BEATY, writer, columnist “For me, the trick to successful entertaining over the holidays is to keep everything really informal. We always have the ingredients for spiced cider or mulled wine, as well as a good variety of cheese and crackers on hand. And there’s always lots of leftover turkey for a quick casserole, soup or sandwiches.” SERGEI BELSKI, photographer I love food parties, and have had lots of them. Mostly just regular things ... BBQ, dinner, potluck, etc. My favourite is when we have some guests over and we make everything over the fire pit. Food tastes so much better cooked on the fire. You can experiment with your food, and the whole process is very enjoyable for everyone.
I try to keep the menu as simple and delicious as possible when entertaining. People aren’t impressed with a souflee if it flops or flambé if it burns down the house. Simple dishes combined with good wine and great friends are always a recipe for success.
I don’t do much by way of entertaining, but I have learned that lampshades make for poor headwear and give you lampshade-hair, to boot.
ELLEN KELLY, writer, columnist Don’t try something complicated for the first time.
CARL PATzEL, writer, photographer A couple of funny stories, a few bottles of good wine and a nice cheese ball never hurt.
KRISTY REIMER, photographer Have a few different appetizers and drinks out when guests arrive because even if dinner isn’t ready when you want it to be, the guests won’t notice.
Are you a hostess with the mostess? Drop us an e-mail and tell us why you deserve to have your next party featured in an upcoming issue of AirdrieLIFE airdrielife.com
Smile, and feel your best.
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LIFEstyle 14 Meet the Chef – Umesh Singh dishes up flavour 17 Fabric Artist – Jean Raines stitches the landscape 18 Musician Profile – Autumn Arson rocks the house 20 For the Birds – tips for feeding your feathered friends 23 Cool Shops – you won’t believe what we found 32 Winter Fashions – yes the eighties are coming back 36 Taste of Airdrie – our editor’s top 10 picks 38 Soup’s On – cooking lessons from Stacey 40 Wine Tasting – great choices found locally 43 Coming Soon – Rico’s plans 45 The Sweet Life – Avenue Bakery smells success 46 PhotoLIFE – Carl Patzel takes us down a country road
COMMUNITY 50 LIFEMoments – Ellen talks cupcakes 52 Schools – Breakfast for hungry brains 53 Food Science – high school chefs 55 Gluten-Free – dealing with a special diet 57 Indoor Kicks – soccer makes the move 63 Rural Roots – where the buffalo roam
Regular columns 22 TechLIFE 26 FitLIFE 28 That’sLIFE 50 LIFEMoments 62 SportsLIFE
10 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
HOMES 72 Real Estate – news and views 74 Home Décor – great buys around town 78 Home Theatres – the winter solution 80 Builder Profile – Douglas Homes 82 Counter Attack – give your kitchen a lift 84 Fireplaces – keep the homes fires burning 88 Showhomes – You’re invited to Reunion
CITY 93 Waterworks – how our H20 flows 95 Village Revitalization – taking steps to change 97 Centennial – a look back at the events 99 People – Mike Dingle reflects on 30 years with AES
WORKS 102 Economic Development – international recognition 103 Restaurant Industry – why Airdrie is attracting the chains 104 Community Minded – Killarney’s is the hub 106 Winners – meet the Winning Edge recipients 108 Breakfast Club – getting an early start 110 Financial LIFE – your money, good advice
On the cover:
Mike Dingle poses one last time at the Airdrie AES station | Photo by Kristy Reimer See story page 99
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LIFEstyle Cool shops | 23
top tastes | 36
Making Wine | 40 Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE
Umesh Singh puts the finishing touches on a dish at Peppercorns
LIFEstyle | City Chefs
A Touch of
Story by Anne Beaty | Photos by Kristy Reimer
Peppercorns Restaurant gives taste buds a field trip to other countries
aking over a popular restaurant can be a daunting prospect, but in one short year Umesh and Usha Singh have made their mark on Airdrie with Peppercorns Restaurant. Having bought the former Bella Italia last year, the Singhs set about getting to know their clientele and the community and provide just what their customers want. The response has been highly positive. “Airdrie’s been wonderful,” Usha says. “Our customers have been amazing.” “The support of the people here is fantastic,” Umesh adds. The Singhs are both originally from Fiji, although they came to the Calgary area by different paths. Usha, who has been in Calgary on and off for 26 years, first came here to join her brother as she pursued post-secondary
14 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
education in sociology. After graduation, she practiced social work for 10 years before heading to Asia to travel and work for threeand-a-half years. Upon her return to Calgary, her marriage to Umesh and the birth of their son, Rajeev, now 11, she found that her priorities had changed. “Once I had my son, I found social work to be a little hard,” she says, adding that now the restaurant takes up much of her time. Umesh took a more roundabout route before landing in Calgary 15 years ago, where he is currently the executive chef at Daltons Restaurant at Greenwood Inn. After leaving home at 18 to go to college in Australia, his path to becoming a chef was somewhat circuitous. “My first job was serving at Pizza Hut in downtown Sydney,” he laughs.
Nonetheless, Umesh’s appetite for fine food had been whetted and he went on to apprentice and train under French and German chefs. After returning to Fiji for a short time to open a restaurant, Umesh eventually moved to Vancouver, where he worked at Cactus Club Cafés for six years. Then it was on to Calgary, a place he and Usha now call home. While it is the dream of all young chefs to work and study in Europe, Umesh says, he has passed that part of his life; however, he is still enthusiastic about the opportunities he has had to live and work in various parts of the world. “I think you learn more as you travel,” he says. Now, the Singhs are happy to have established their roots in Calgary. They eventually plan to move to Airdrie, with its smaller-city
feel, but with their son happy in his Calgary school, they will stay where they are for the present. Although it had been a long-time dream of hers to open a restaurant, Usha laughingly says that the reality is not exactly romantic. “Usually I’m the dishwasher,” she says. However, she is enjoying interacting with the public, while her husband oversees the kitchen. “I’m the silent partner,” Umesh says with a smile. For Umesh, owning his own restaurant means a great deal of work, but the smaller, more intimate atmosphere and creative benefits are what make it worthwhile. While he thoroughly enjoys being the chef at the Greenwood Inn, the work there is fairly structured. At Peppercorns, it’s different – as chief cook and bottle washer, he can experiment, mix flavours and create his own dishes. “It’s the freedom to do whatever I want,” he says.“This is more of a passion … you create food and hopefully people like it.” When it comes to experimentation with flavours, the first to taste the chef ’s creations are usually those closest to him. “It’s us and the staff here,” Usha says. One would perhaps expect extraordinary things in the Singhs’ kitchen at home, but the couple laughingly admits that their diet often consists of what is on the menu at Peppercorns. Extra leftover sauces, with bread as a dipper, are a favourite.
“I’ve gained like 20 pounds,” Usha says. The couple relishes the opportunity to sample various dishes, although some – such as local naturally raised beef – are their absolute favourites. “I love pastas – chicken pasta is my favourite,” Umesh says, adding that zesty chicken penne is marvelous. Usha likes to sample salads. “Every time I go somewhere, I have to try salads,” she says. And neither can pass up rack of lamb. “Alberta lamb is just fantastic,” Umesh says. Restaurant fare aside, though, the Singhs tend to go for a lot of fresh produce at home, probably the result of having been brought up in a place where one could pick fresh mangoes right off the tree – a concept foreign to those who spend a good deal of the year looking at snow. And perhaps because the couple is originally from the tropics, seafood – from Atlantic salmon and West Coast sablefish, to bouillabaisse and lobster bisque, to Chilean sea bass and Hawaiian tuna – also plays a big role on the Peppercorns menu. “We want to do everything – globally inspired,” Umesh says. The dishes may reflect global tastes, but the Singhs are working on incorporating as much local, fresh product into their menu as possible, along the lines of the 100-mile diet. One of their customers’ favourite dishes is
Umesh’s own creation, bison and wild mushroom cannelloni. “That’s very popular here,” Usha says. Since taking over the restaurant, the Singhs have modified the menu to a certain extent, keeping certain dishes, modifying some and developing others. “We asked the customers what they wanted and [Umesh] added his own touch,” Usha says. Peppercorns also caters to special group requests, such as an evening of ‘island inspirations,’ in which Umesh cooked a five-course Fijian meal for a table of 15. The menu included such dishes as kokoda fish, with citrus juice, coconut cream and chunks of white fish; baked coconut cream with onions; fresh mango salad, made up of mango, red onions and lime juice; and banana flambé with coconut ice cream. While the evening was fun for both the Singhs and the clients, preparing for the meal took a bit of ingenuity. “It’s a difficult thing to do, especially when you have to source out the products,” Umesh says. Away from Peppercorns, Umesh recently enjoyed an experience of a lifetime, when he had the opportunity to cook with Food Network Canada star chef Michael Smith. Smith was in Calgary Sept. 22 at the Greenwood Inn for a charity event and Umesh was fortunate enough to work closely with the talented chef and learn from his experience. “That was the highlight of my career, I’d say,” Umesh says. “Just phenomenal – something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.” Back at the restaurant, Usha and Umesh are simply looking forward to getting to know their customers better and becoming even closer to the community. “As people get to know us … they always make special requests,” Usha says. That’s the real payoff for the Singhs – when their customers become friends. “We look forward to continuing to serve LIFE them,” Umesh says. More life online Get more details on Peppercorns’ hours and menu – plus a chance to win dinner for two –
Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 15
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Lifestyle | Artist Profile
“I like honest, true colours,” says Jean Raines
Fabric artist Jean Raines
landscape one stitch aT a time Fabric artist Jean Raines story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Kristy Reimer
about the materials she chooses for her quilting projects. Although she says she isn’t intuitive about colours, the exquisite blending of fabrics in her quilted landscapes and intricate quilts proves otherwise. “Most of my quilting is original,” she says. “It drives me crazy to make 24 blocks the same. When you start a quilt, you have to like what you’re working with.” Although she has been an avid sewer since childhood, Raines didn’t pursue her interest in quilting until 1993. She took a beginner quilting class and was hooked but not in the traditional sense. She soon became interested in wall quilts and enrolled in a course in Calgary taught by Betty Louden, who, Raines feels, pioneered the technique involved in making landscape quilts. While simultaneously working on a bright Bargello (a type of quilt that creates a feeling of motion through the shifting of harmonious colours giving it a 3-D effect) and a landscape quilt inspired by Louden’s class, Raines became so enthralled with her projects, there was no looking back. She loved the process of creating scenes from fabric that had depth and perspective, and began dying her own fabrics to produce the outcome she desired. Raines’ landscape quilts have travelled to shows like the 2000 Canadian Quilters Convention in Edmonton, “Best of Alberta” show, and to a province of Ontario show in Kitchener/Waterloo featuring Alberta quilts. Her Canadian Provincial and Territorial Flowers quilt, with stained glass border featuring hand-dyed fabrics, was pictured on the cover of the spring 2005 issue of The Canadian Quilter. Born and raised in the Delacour area, Raines learned to sew on her mother’s treadle sewing machine when she was seven or eight. From the farm west of Airdrie where she has lived since 1955, she’s been actively involved in a number of ventures supporting Alberta artists and craftspeople. She is a past member of the Alberta Craft Council and was chosen to be one of 100 Albertans asked to produce quality items for sale in venue stores at the 1988 Olympics. She was involved with the original Alley Cat Gallery in Bragg Creek and in 1988 opened Windflower Gallery in Cochrane with three partners (Kay Smith, Maida Wearmouth and Audrey Campbell). The Gallery sold unique, quality merchandise between 1988 and 1993. Raines was also involved with Goldenrod 4-H and organized the annual craft sale for many years. Raines is currently working on a twisted Bargello project and regularly attends meetings of the Quilted LIFE Mouse, a small guild of about 25 members. Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 17
Lifestyle | Musicians
from Autumn Arson by Krysta Remington
High school is all about right now. What’s going on this weekend, what test needs to be studied for and who’s dating who? Then there are those rare souls who look beyond the right now. Meet Autumn Arson, a foursome band of 15- to 17-year-olds who are true role models to their generation. Not only are they trying to build a name for themselves and reach people through their music, but they regularly participate in charity events and are more than willing to help newer artists get their start. Their latest milestone of accomplishment was performing in Nose Creek Park, for their biggest crowd yet, during Centennial celebrations. In the past they have been recognized in the industry for competing in Battle of the Bands competitions. In the Band on the Run competition they came in sixth out of all of Canada and third in the west. AirdrieLIFE sat down with Stephen Jones from Autumn Arson to learn more about where they came from, where they are headed and what drives this young band.
Band Members: Stephen Jones – lead vocals, guitar Levi Bulloch – guitar, back-up vocals Jesse Gautreau – drums Daniel Raimes – bass guitar 18 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
(L to R) Bandmates Levi Bulloch, Jesse Gautreau and Stephen Jones. (Missing is Daniel Raimes) Q: How did you come up with the band name Autumn Arson? A: We don’t really have a cool story for that. We needed a band name for a show we were playing and came up with a bunch of bad ideas and the only one we could all agree on was Autumn Arson. We just thought it’d be kind of cool if leaves on trees were on fire. Q: Describe the sound of Autumn Arson A: Well we don’t like to compare ourselves to other bands because we are an original band, but I would describe it as pop, punk, rock. It is not easy listening, but it is still really happy and it is meaningful. Q: If your sound is meaningful, does that mean you pride yourselves on your lyrics? A: For a few of our songs they were extremely sentimental. The Crash is the main one, because everyone in the band relates to it. It was written because my cousin died in a car accident. Our lyrics are one of the first things we look at. Q: What is the song-writing process like? A: It depends; sometimes Levi or I will write the songs and then we will say ‘Hey guys listen to this,’ and then it is written. I personally write music first, Levi writes words then music; we all have different styles of writing. Lately we have just been throwing things together randomly in practice as a band. We do write as a band now. Q: How long does it take you to write a song? A: Our first few songs didn’t take us that long. It took us about a week a song just because we had to get it ready and prepared for upcoming shows. Now we are spending a lot more time on our writing because we want to mature our sound a bit. We are making stuff more advanced with hard progressions, change in time signatures and all that stuff. So we have been writing a lot more progressive and more difficult. We have been taking about three weeks a song now.
Q: Do you have a CD out yet? A: We just got a recording studio that has offered us some recording time. We are pretty much getting it for dirt cheap. Our last studio we had to pay a lot for. We have a demo out on MySpace; it’s just a cheap recording we made. We are getting a better-quality recording out in a few months of one song and then we will keep recording until we get enough for a CD. Q: How long have you been a band together? Were you all friends before? A: Since April 2009, so it has only been about half a year. Levi and I have been friends since the beginning of time pretty much. Jesse we randomly met one day and we got on the topic of music and he said he played Neil Peart drum beats, so I figured he must be good. (Neil Peart is the drummer for Rush who does progressive drum beats.) So, we tried him out and he kind of was amazing. Dan recently just moved here from the U.K. and he’s only been in the band for about a month. We went through four different members for the bass position, but Dan has the most experience. He also just feels a lot better within the group; we mesh more. Quick Association: I`ll say a word or phrase and you say the first thing that comes to mind. Brain Freezes: Slushies Drugs: Bad Alberta: Beef Quentin Tarantino: Gruesome Moshpits: Love ‘em Texting: That’s how we communicate; that has taken over the world. The band wouldn’t be together without texting. Facebook: Evil, the root of all evil, but I need to go on it at the same time. MORE LIFE ONLINE Read more of the interview
with Autumn Arson at www.airdrielife.com
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For the birds Lifestyle | Pets
Treats for your fine feathered friends Story by Ellen Kelly | Photo by Dan Kelly
eeding the birds, which once meant tossing stale bread crumbs onto the snow for sparrows to eat, has become a popular hobby. It’s big business now, with fancy mesh, wooden and Plexiglas feeders in all shapes and sizes to hang from trees, place on stands or attach to buildings. Feeders attract a variety of birds and fit every back yard. The feeders you choose depend on what you want from your bird-feeding experience. If your goal is to attract a few sparrows for the kids to watch, bread crumbs on a clean-swept area will do, as will an inexpensive feeder and a bag of bulk bird seed. Sparrows are groundfeeders so they make a terrible mess as they scatter the seeds, then fly down to eat. The thing is, sparrows are bossy, prolific and tend to take over. If you want to attract a variety of interesting visitors to your yard, it’s best not to encourage the sparrows. Many small birds stay with us all winter while others only visit during the winter season. It is common to see chickadees, red poles, nuthatches, pine siskins, dark-eyed juncos and evening grosbeaks feasting at feeders in Airdrie. A good bird identification book is essential. For small birds, choose a silo feeder with small holes surrounded by a mesh cage to keep out larger birds, and fill it with nyger (thistle) seed. A platform feeder and mixture
20 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
of shelled peanuts, crushed corn, sunflower seeds, black oil seeds (the #1 bird seed) and dried fruits and berries attracts a variety of birds. Bird supply stores can help you select appropriate seed. Include a few unshelled peanuts and watch blue jays hide them in nearby trees. Blue jays are smart, and cheeky too – don’t be late with lunch or they’ll squawk at you from a nearby tree. A word of caution: use only fresh seed. If stored for a long time, the seed looks fine, but the kernel inside the husk dries up leaving nothing for the birds to eat. Another important tip? Don’t stain your wooden feeders as the oil leaches out into the seeds. Hang your feeders in a high, safe place. Platform feeders should be out in the open and away from trees and shrubs. In front of the picture window might seem like a good idea, but it’s very traumatic to watch the neighbour’s cat creep up and pounce on your finely fed, feathered friends. Suet provides protein which helps keep birds warm. Most birds will eat suet which can be made at home or purchased in blocks that contain ingredients like cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, even bugs and fit into specially built suet feeders. Suet often attracts
downy woodpeckers and sometimes their larger cousins, northern flickers. Peanut butter spread on pine cones or bark is also a protein treat. Mix cornmeal with it though, as peanut butter sticks to the roof of birdie mouths and they can choke. Roasted meal worms are an additional source of protein and a special treat as are seed balls and bells which contain a variety of seeds, fruits and berries. Spruce trees and thick shrubs provide natural food as well as shelter. Birds thrive on seeds found in pinecones, and dried berries left on bushes and trees (saskatoon, chokecherry, cranberry, mountain ash, mayday, etc.) Some birds, like cedar waxwings, swoop down in large flocks and eat berries but don’t visit the feeders. “Don’t forget water,” says Dan Kelly, resident bird expert. “When natural sources freeze the birds need water to keep their digestive systems working. Birds will seek out an open water source faster than they’ll look for food.” And on sunny days, even in January, they like to bathe if water is available. There are several types of birdbaths that come with a built-in heating element to keep the water open even in the coldest temperatures. But remember to clean your birdbath often – our feathered friends are messy! LIFE
spring makeover contest!
Send us your photo and tell us why you want a makeover and you could be featured in the spring issue of AirdrieLIFE! Hurry, you must submit your
entry no later than
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LIFEstyle | Technology
TechLIFE By Brad Racette
O n li n e
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PLUS Gift bags from Bubbles & Bling & The Store Upstairs each month! Web Exclusives • Recipes from Peppercorns, Calgary Co-op and Avenue Bakery • PLUS special recipes for a gluten-free diet • More winter fashion • Airdrie Housing Limited – the background • Family finances: advice to parents and couples • Anne Beaty’s technophobia rant • Kids & allergies – what you need to know • Local events calendar • Complete community profiles and showhome map • A new exclusive AirdrieLIFE screensaver calendar for every month • MORE photos from AirdrieLIFE events and features *Contest closes Jan. 15, 2010
22 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Who’s got your back?
This issue I’d like to address protection for your computers, including data backups and battery backups. Most people I meet would be heartbroken if they lost all of the pictures they have stored on their computer. Your data ideally should have two variations of backup: onsite and off-site. For on-site backup there are a number of options available, such as an external hard drive that connects via USB or Firewire or a Network-attached drive that connects to your router. With these units I suggest you do complete backups of all your data. Most of these drives come pre-installed with backup software but there are also other companies that make backup software. For off-site backup I suggest Data Deposit Box. This Canadian company has multiple servers for your backup storage. Your data is encrypted before it leaves your computer so only you can access it with a username and password. The data can then be accessed by you from anywhere in the world. It can be set up so that as you make changes the backup is updated automatically. I suggest to businesses that in the event of a disaster (e.g. fire) the minimal data you store off-site is what you would need to get your operations up and running in 15-60 minutes. My gadget pick
Power issues should always be a concern for anyone with a computer or other electronic
devices. In the event of a blackout, brownout or electrical storm all computers should be protected not only with a surge protector but also a battery backup unit. These units should be sized according to the electrical load they will carry and the amount of time you need the equipment to run in a blackout. They come with software that can turn your computer off safely as well. For most residential users with a computer, monitor and printer the APC Power Saving Back-UPS ES, 10 outlet, 750VA is a great choice. It has a power saving feature that will turn off your printer, monitor and one other device when the computer is powered off. It will also power down idle peripherals to save energy and money. The manufacturer claims this unit will save on average $40 per year on your electric bill. MSRP is $129 Cdn. With preventative measures such as these in place, you can rest easy the next time Airdrie gets hit with a storm like the one on the August long weekend. No need to worry that LIFE your computer has been fried!
LIFEstyle | shopping
An original Texaco gas pump from Where on Earth ... Did You Get That?
Great things in store STORY BY ALEx FRAzER-HARRISON PHOTOS BY CARL PATzEL
From quirky to collectible, some of the best shopping in the area is right down the street And the huge stuffed lion found in one corner of the mall is bound to find a good home on somebody’s bed. Where on Earth … Did You Get That? Antique Mall is located on Edmonton Trail. WHErE MEMOrIEs ArE MADE
Marx train set from Treasure Cove Comics & Collectibles
he fact Airdrie offers a wide variety of shops is evident if you walk down Main Street or check out places like Yankee Valley Crossing. But look behind the big-name chains and you can find some truly unique shops that offer items you just can’t find at a mall, or in many cases even in Calgary itself. AirdrieLIFE paid a visit to just a few of these local businesses.
WHErE On EArtH … DID yOu gEt tHAt? AntIQuE MALL
Since it took over the old Canadian Tire store on Edmonton Trail in 2007, Gaylene Drader’s Where on Earth … Did You Get That? Antique Mall has become a choice destination for not only antique-hunters, but also anyone looking for a unique gift item. The irony of the Antique Mall is in how much “new” stuff shows up all the time. That’s thanks to its unique format of offering stalls to independent antique and collectibles dealers who constantly bring in their finds. From full Second World War-era mili-
tary uniforms, to pulp western novels, to collections of old beer and soda pop bottles, there’s probably something for any collectorat-heart. Who wouldn’t want a full-size old-style gasoline pump – one of those wonderful glass-topped designs like you might see preserved at Heritage Park’s Gasoline Alley? Not one but two dealers at Where on Earth… got their hands on some of these. If you’re a rail collector, be prepared to spend some time riffling through a pile of old railway schedules. If you’re an Elvis fanatic (and who isn’t?), perhaps a rare record or standee might be to your liking – or you could be the first on your block to have an official Elvis Presley wall thermometer. If you’re redecorating your basement with a retro theme, places like Where on Earth… are treasure troves, whether you’re looking for a genuine cast-iron gas stove, an old-fashioned pay phone to remind the kids of the days before iPhones, and even such must-haves as a complete 1960s-vintage dentist’s chair and a pair of barbershop chairs.
As a professional calligrapher for the last 35 years, with experience in creating unique “memory boxes,” BerylAnne Hodgins knows the importance of finding a gift that is absolutely unique. Hodgins opened Where Memories Are Made in Yankee Valley Crossing last April. The shop features an eclectic selection of giftware and gadgets aimed at adding that “extra touch” to weddings, graduations, birthdays and holidays. Hodgins describes her shop as “shabbychic,” and there seems to be something unusual in almost every corner, from do-it-yourself time capsules, to commemorate births and weddings, to jewellery boxes designed for displaying miniature furniture. Gifts like hand bags, vintage and sterling silver jewellery (including the exclusive Kameleon line) and what Hodgins calls “hair bling” are a few of the gift items on tap for the female clientele, while what she calls “guy gifts” such as flask sets and even cowboy birdhouses make sure the male contingent isn’t left out. There are also items to appeal to the older generation, such as a selection of vintage linen of a type rarely found in stores these days. Hodgins stocks unusual treats, such as chocolate pizza and gourmet gift baskets, alongside Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 23
LIFEstyle | shopping
Do-it-yourself books from Page & Turners
Paper made of elephant dung and more, available at Global A.P.E.
BerylAnn Hodgins from Where Memories Are Made
“stocking-stuffer”-style items such as themed salt and pepper shakers, key finders, purse hangers, specialty wine bottle stoppers and an assortment of sculpted fairies and angels. Hodgins also puts her calligraphic skills to use, creating memory boxes that combine heirlooms, mementoes and perhaps a favourite poem or saying into a permanent display that truly qualifies as “one of a kind.” “I try to look at my store through my customers’ eyes and keep things fresh,” says Hodgins. pAgE & turnErs BOOkstOrEs
You don’t need to drive into Calgary to find a big city-style bookstore – there’s one right here in Airdrie. Page & Turners is an unusual animal in that it is both a new and a used bookstore – the two formats rarely meet. Owner Pat Hendry says she fell into the used-book business by accident, when she brought in a large assortment of books for a food bank fundraiser. The previously owned books just kept coming, she says. As a result, book lovers have a unique experience at Page & Turners – checking out some of the newest releases in categories ranging from kids books to science fiction, and just below are racks of older, “previously loved” books that might include a rarity or two. Indeed, Hendry says you never know when a rare item might show up, such as a rare wrestling biography she sold to an over24 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
joyed (and somewhat shocked) wrestling fan not long ago. And for those who enjoy some refreshment while visiting a bookstore, you don’t need to find one of those big-box bookstores with the Starbucks attached – Page & Turners has a selection of coffees and other drinks available on site. Hendry says one of the things she enjoys the most about running a bookstore is the varied clientele. Indeed, the range of customers you’ll see at a bookstore like this is often as unique as the unusual volumes you find on the shelf. Page & Turners is located in Yankee Valley Crossing. trEAsurE COVE COMICs & COLLECtIBLEs
For 20 years, lovers of comic books and pop culture memorabilia have flocked to Treasure Cove Comics & Collectibles. Maybe it’s the life-sized Homer Simpson, or the huge inflatable Wolverine (of the superhero variety) hanging from the ceiling, but there is something about paralegal-turned-entrepreneur John Quong’s shop that ought to stir up some nostalgia in anyone who remembers visiting the corner bookstore-cum-comic shop in their youth. A lot has changed from the days when Superman and Uncle Scrooge ruled the racks, of course. Manga – a comic book format hailing from Japan – is all the rage these days, and if you want to sample some of this art
form, without having to venture into Calgary, Quong has a large selection to browse. If traditional comics are more your speed, you’ll find them here, too, from superhero and “funny animal” classics to classics of another kind – back issues of Classics Illustrated. Quong’s centrepiece is a large collection of western memorabilia, from pulp paperbacks and cowboy chaps to rare photos. Or if you want something a bit more futuristic, there’s always the ever-reliable Star Trek toys on display. Look closely and you could also find items that are truly unique and might make any true movie lover happy. A recent visit uncovered a theatre program signed by none other than Katherine Hepburn. (Speaking of autographs, while you’re at the checkout, don’t forget to check out the gallery of famous faces and their signatures collected by Quong over the years.) Like any good collectibles shop, there’s always something new to find at a place like Treasure Cove, either because Quong has just brought it back from one of his many comicshow sojourns, or you missed finding it the first time around. Treasure Cove is located on East Lake Blvd. N.E. gLOBAL A.p.E.
When Jodie Simpson changed careers, she was told to follow her passion. That passion is helping people develop a
new lifestyle – one that is environmentally friendly and promotes the well-being of people around the world. After two years as a trade-show and e-commerce fixture, Global A.P.E. recently opened its first storefront on Main Street in Airdrie. “A.P.E. stands for Animals, People, Environment,” explains Simpson. “The premise of this business is sustainability … how we need to look after one and look after all.” A visit to Global A.P.E. is an eye-opener. For one thing, forget misconceptions about recycled paper being lower quality than “virgin” paper. Simpson sells paper made from bananas and coffee and even elephant dung, and it’s just as good as the stuff coming fresh off the trees. Many of the items for sale come with stories behind them. For example, there are loofah bath scrubbers made from a gourd in Paraguay that is tied to a tree-planting program. And a collection of high-quality, sturdy textiles are made by patients at a leprosy hospital in India. “People who otherwise wouldn’t be employable or earn a living are able to do so by making high-quality product,” says Simpson, stressing that promoting “fair trade” is a mandate for Global A.P.E. There are toys made from reclaimed wood in India, bowls made by herdsmen in Kenya from abandoned tree stumps. And, of course, you can’t have fair trade without an assortment of high-quality coffees, teas and sugar products, which is what many people usually think of when they think “fair trade.” “One item we have is pure cocoa butter, and cocoa liqueur, so if you’re into tempering your own chocolate, this is the pure stuff,” says Simpson. “A big focus for us is education and awareness. If people understand a bit better how much power they have [in choosing what they buy] … we don’t often think what’s behind the products we buy. “I’ve travelled extensively and I’ve met a lot of these people,” Simpson adds. “You can’t help but want to do something.” LIFE
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LIFEstyle | health
FitLIFE WITH JOAN BELL
You are what you eat
ince the early 1800s man has believed you are what you eat. So how do we avoid becoming a french fry? I spoke with several nutritionists in Airdrie to get some strategies for maintaining a healthy lifestyle without giving up the pleasures of eating. The word “diet” generally has a negative connotation. We diet to lose weight, but as Danielle Cobbett from Simply For Life tells us, “eating healthy is not about being on a diet.” Instead, let’s focus on the positive aspects of diet, fueling our bodies with the proper nutrients to maintain good health. So how do we eat healthy without feeling deprived? Here are a few tips from the nutritionist experts of Airdrie that will, according to Jennifer Leadley, Nutrition Coach of Inches A-Weigh, Weight Loss and Wellness Center, “help you break the diet cycle and enjoy healthy eating.” • keeP a jouRnal oF What you eat: Research shows that people who keep a record of their eating patterns tend to eat less and eat healthier. They are also more likely to maintain weight loss. A food journal will pinpoint emotional eating triggers and help you identify where you can implement healthy changes. • Reduce satuRated Fats: While not all fats are bad, most people consume too much fat which means excessive calories. Use a non-stick pan, use olive oil or canola oil sprays for cooking, use just enough butter or dressings for taste, blot fat from greasy foods, use herbs to add flavour, and replace high fat foods with fruits and vegetables. Cobbett suggests finishing off your meal with berries and yogurt.“A high-fibre, low-sugar dessert always makes me feel like my meal is complete.” • dRink WateR: When we drink alcohol with a meal, not only do we tend to eat more, but alcohol contains seven calories per gram, and actually leads to dehydration. Drinking water throughout the day can help to curb your appetite. Often when you are feeling hungry, you are actually thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water next 26 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
time you are feeling peckish. Dehydration can slow the metabolism, so save the alcohol for a special occasion and drink lots of water. • MeasuRe oR Weigh youR Food PoRtions: Familiarize yourself with healthy portion sizes. Most restaurants and fast food outlets mega size their food offerings. Remember, a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. If you have trouble stopping after one serving of pretzels, either buy single serving packages or measure out single servings into a plastic bag or container. • eat high-nutRient, dense Foods: According to Cobbett, “A varied plant-based diet with lots of vegetables and low glycemic fruits will always provide satisfaction due to the high nutrient content.” Try substituting spaghetti squash for white pasta and mashed cauliflower for high starch potatoes. You will feel satisfied and your body will thank you. As Holly Veillard of Pure Nutrition and Wellness says,“the key is eating nutrient-dense foods.” She goes on to explain,“these are the foods that give your body the energy and nutrients it needs and are hearty enough to allow you to feel full.” • RediscoveR the joy oF MoveMent and Play: Incorporate activity into your day. Your body is built for movement as anybody who has spent hours sitting at a desk or behind the wheel of a vehicle can attest to. Get up and move around during the day, play with the kids, take the dog for a walk, exercise with a friend or go dancing with your partner. Find an excuse to get active and your body will thank you. If you eat healthy, you will discover that you actually have more energy to be active. Leadley stresses that breaking the diet cycle and staying active is all about “listening to your body and finding the healthy weight and lifestyle balance that is unique to you. The power to enhance your health is within your control.” Veillard offers these final words of advice to maintain a healthy diet:“when people eat good quality food, their bodies will naturally balance to an optimum weight.” Try one or more of these strategies to help you eat well and you will be amazed at how easy it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle without giving up the pleasures LIFE of eating.
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LIFEstyle | Column
That’sLIFE By Stacey Carefoot
Confessions of a
have a confession to make. I’m a hockey mom. Not one of those crazy, cowbell-ringing, jersey-wearing, penny-shaking-in-the-pop-can type of hockey moms but a hockey mom nonetheless. This past September we lived through one of the hockey world’s most stressful periods, tryouts. Unless you have experienced a tryout month first hand you will never be able to understand the pressure, anxiety, stress and confusion we face as hockey parents. We put our players out on the line for perfect strangers to judge, critique and either promote or demote based on one or two observations. Sometimes we agree with where they end up and often we don’t. By mid October the tryouts of September, like the pain of child birth, are forgotten and hockey season starts. This year’s tryouts seemed particularly challenging both as a volunteer and as a parent. On more than one occasion I found myself in the bathtub surrounded by bubbles, drinking a pomegranate martini, trying to unwind from the trials and tribulations of tryouts. Realizing that if this behavior continued, my life could take a turn for the worse, I decided it was time to put down the martini, step out of the tub and seek the advice of an experienced professional. “Just don’t make a big deal out of any of it,” says Lori Rosehill, a professional hockey mom whose son Jay recently scored his first NHL goal while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Translated Rosehill is telling us to stop sweating the small stuff, to not hold grudges and always use the 24-hour rule before approaching any issue with a coach or volunteer. “People are almost always doing their best, including the referees,” jokes Rosehill. Another professional hockey mom, Diane Jaffray, whose son Jason has recently played for both the Calgary
28 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Flames and the Vancouver Canucks, reiterates the importance of a positive attitude. “I always gave them a hug, and told them good job, I’m proud of you. I found a positive that they had in every game,” says Jaffray. “A parent’s job is to support their child, youth or adult. The higher up they go, the tougher and rougher the cuts are.” “It’s not just putting a little black thing in a net. There are a lot of personal skills and growth that come from playing team sports,” adds Rosehill, who wasn’t in attendance at her son’s Toronto Maple Leaf debut in October because, believe it or not, she has a life of her own. “I teach boot camp and I couldn’t let 20 ladies down,” laughs Rosehill, a personal trainer and busy business owner. Rosehill and her husband decided early on that their three children, all strong hockey players in their own right, would be given the gift of a well-rounded childhood. “We all love to water ski, so every summer, that’s what we do,” says Rosehill. The Jaffray family also encouraged other activities during the off season including baseball and soccer. “We maybe put them in one hockey school a year to experience it,” says Jaffray.“Then we let them play soccer or baseball or just chill out.” “We always maintained that if you’re good, they’ll find you,” Rosehill says when describing their family choice for Jay to forgo an opportunity with the WHL and remain in his hometown and play for the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys, the only way it would have been possible for him to graduate with a Canadian high school diploma.“He had people calling him, telling him he was ruining his career, but we stuck to our guns. He lived at home and was able to graduate with his buddies,” a gift that he undoubtedly will treasure forever. All kids dream big, especially those who think they’re
Because pampering yourself is just as rewarding as pampering your best friend
going to the NHL. Rosehill describes how when he was very little Jay would tell people he was going to be a “fessional” hockey player. His parents would nod and pat his little head. Despite his dream and their desire, they never paraded him around the province for people to have a look at his skills.“I always knew he had what it took, he just needed a break. I never stopped believing in him, I hope he always knew that,” says Rosehill in her ever-positive manner, thankful for the opportunity the Maple Leafs have given her son. After a couple of brief conversations I was able to learn a lot about what it takes to be a great hockey parent, not only from what was said but more from what they didn’t say. Not once did either professional hockey mom mention yelling when things didn’t go their way, blaming others or sacrificing anything and everything for her children’s hockey careers. They didn’t speak of the benefit of holding grudges or forming judgments, questioning opinions or continually causing controversy. They and other professional hockey parents are positive role models who surrounded their children with positive actions, strong family values and provided them with a well-rounded upbringing. Hopefully next year, when once again we throw our players to the wolves during tryouts, I and many others will have learned from the valuable advice of Rosehill and Jaffray. After all, it’s only a game and they are the professionals. LIFE
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winter. wander. warmth. buy a calgary zoo annual pass and visit us year round as often as you like. inside and out, the calgary zoo is a winter wonderland of amazing animals, exotic indoor gardens and meandering trails. adult annual pass $55 child’s annual pass $18 makes the perfect unique gift for christmas or any special occasion!
Surround your family with the beauty and splendour of over 1.5 million twinkling lights. This interactive light show immerses you in the spirit of the season with:
• santavision – chat live with santa! • remax holiday video postcard • kids play areas; snowball alley, snow bowling, reindeer stables and snigloo • the festival of choirs • creamy hot chocolate, crackling fire pits and candy cane lane • new this year, check out our brand new enmax conservatory! a beautiful garden oasis in the middle of winter!
fri nov 27 2009 – sun jan 3 2010 closed christmas day and excluding dec 31 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm gates close at 8:30 pm adults $8 children $5 Pre-purchase your tickets online or at Calgary Co-op to beat the lineups For more details visit www.calgaryzoo.com
do more than just visit ... the calgary zoo offers many different ways for you to enjoy the zoo experience: • birthday parties and sleepovers • behind the scenes with our animals • presentations and courses • botanical education for more information and tickets for these and other programs see www.calgaryzoo.com or call 403 232 9300
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Mad LIFEstyle | Shopping
Airdrie has all your fashion tastes covered!
purple 80s colours
Head-to-toe plaid and co-ordinating pieces available at Superstore
A stylish update on a classic houndstooth plaid from Side Street Ladies Wear
Gorgeous glass jewelry from Muk Luks and Magpies
His and hers bold boarder wear from Sullyâ€™s
32 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Get full attention with this militarylook jacket from S’in Style
Glam it up with purse, belts and scarves from Bubbles & Bling
What to wear under all that winter wool? How about something softer? Sheer Fusion
The black jacket gets a peplum and instant wow factor Side Street Ladies Wear
Bold coloured purse from S’in Style, the season’s must-have accessory – tights from Cream, and matching bra and panty sets from Sheer Fusion
LIFEstyle | Entertaining
Picture-Perfect Evening PHOTOS BY KURTIS KRISTIANSON
It was a picture-perfect evening, nov. 3, when more than 80 guests enjoyed a photography exhibit by airdrielIfe’s fabulously talented shutter bugs, elizabeth hak, carl Patzel, kristy reimer and sergei belski. the first-time event raised more than $2,500 for airdrie housing limited and featured wine tastings and nibbles from the homestead kitchen, the co-op liquor store and avenue bakery. With lou rye providing jazz it turned a tuesday evening in airdrie into a soho gallery night.
Sale Photography Exhibit & The event: AirdrieLIFE ing Ltd. The cause: Airdrie Hous
h choice of fresh foccacia buns wit Braised Pulled Pork on aioli per pep red d ste roa or honey barbecue eses and crackers with Assorted domestic che and olive tapenade dip oke ich garlic art Strawberries Romanov Assorted Trufﬂes and
squares (Avenue Bakery
onnay (France), ance), Fat Bastard Chard Blanc (California), Fat Bastard Merlot (Fr non vig Sau ou (California), Mirass Grigio (Italy) Ravenswood Zinfandel ly) and Gabbiano Pinot Chianti C Aretini (Ita
one piece of pork shoulder. Diced onion, celery, carrot, garlic – 1 cup marinade: 2 cups Coca Cola 2 cups red wine vinegar 1 13-oz can tomato paste 2 cups bulls eye bbQ sauce 1 cup chicken soup paste 1. Combine all the ingredients, mix well. 2. Cut pork shoulder in half. 3. Place the pork on top on the onion, celery, carrot and diced garlic in a roasting pan. 4. Cover with marinade, cover and put in the refrigerator overnight. 5. Cover with foil and place in oven at 300 degrees F for five to six hours. Cooking at a low temperature leaves the meat very tender. 6. Remove pork from pan. Save the juices. 7. Strain the sauce and reduce to half over medium heat. When pork is cooled to the touch, pull apart pork into strips. 8. Combine sauce and pork together. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Red Pepper Aioli
1 ﬂ oz olive oil 2 tsp garlic, chopped 3 oz onion, diced small 1 red bell pepper, medium diced 8 ﬂ oz white wine 450 ml chicken stock salt & pepper 1. Heat the oil and sweat the garlic and onion until translucent, without browning. 2. Add the bell pepper and sweat until tender. 3. Deglaze pan with the wine. 4. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Purée in a blender and strain through a china cup. part Two: 2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste 4 egg yolks 2 tbsp lemon juice 700 ml olive oil 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp white pepper
1. Combine the garlic and egg yolk in a bowl. 2. Add a few drops of the lemon juice and whip until frothy. 3. While whipping the egg yolk mixture add oil slowly until oil is incorporated 4. Combine red pepper into aioli and mix well
photos From Top: Jim hassett, president of Airdrie housing limited, and sherry shaw-Froggatt, publisher of AirdrieliFe, share a laugh with peter brown. lou rye provides the ambience. Attendees explore the exhibit. strawberries romanov were a big hit. page 35 Top: photographers displayed a range of work from postcards to large wall canvases. below: publisher sherry shaw-Froggatt (middle) with photography stars Carl patzel and Kristy reimer (left) and elizabeth hak and sergei belski (right)
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Airdrie Housing Limited The philosophy behind Airdrie Housing Limited’s affordable housing strategy is to own a variety of unit types and sizes in strategic locations in the community close to schools, shopping, medical facilities, transportation and recreation. Airdrie Housing began to directly assist clients in February of 2009 with the RentPlus Supplement Program. In May of 2009, Airdrie Housing began to put families in affordable rental units through the acquisition of the Mountainview Apartments. Currently, Airdrie Housing is directly assisting 112 people in the community with increases being tallied monthly. LIFE MOrE LIFE OnLInE
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AIRDRIE HOUSING LIMITED GO TO AIRDRIELIFE.COM
Taste LIFEstyle | taste
BY SHERRY SHAW-FROGGATT
Agropur Fine Cheeses Available at Calgary Co-op
OKA Cheese Rich in history and flavour, OKA is a semi-firm, mild cheese that offers irresistible and subtle flavours of hazelnut and butter. Best served with chardonnay, pinot noir or sweet beers.
Chevrita Cheese A soft cheese made from 100% goat’s milk, Chevrita features a smooth and delicate caprine flavour. A delicious cheese to discover!
As Airdrie grows, so do our ﬂavour options When I first moved to Airdrie dining was limited. I’m talking pizza and Chinese food. And while I get a hankering for both, it’s wonderful to see that Airdrie has expanded its culinary taste buds to include a variety of restaurants and retail take-home meals to satisfy any craving without driving into Calgary (besides,
Best served with sparkling wines, sauvignon blanc and sour beers.
who wants to drive home after).
Champfleury Cheese Champfleury is a unique washed-rind soft cheese. It boasts a creamy and unctuous texture enveloped in a coppery orange rind that has a pronounced bouquet and an irresistible fruity flavour. Best served with pinot gris, ice cider and sweet beers.
Rondoux Triple Crème Rondoux triple crème has no equal. Made from milk and fresh cream, it is a fine cheese of the most unctuous kind. Let it ripen and its texture will become even creamier. It will literally melt in your mouth. Best served with pinot gris, chardonnay and smooth beers.
36 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
HErE ArE My tOp 10 rECOMMEnDAtIOns.
1. When Sal and Anna Maria Monna sold Bella Italia a collective groan arose from the city: “Where will we get Anna Maria’s meatballs? What about her manicotti? Where can we hear Sal sing?” Thankfully this couple cannot stay out of the restaurant business and opened a deli, Sal’s Bistro, on Main Street (in the strip mall next to the public library). Here you’ll find true Italian sandwiches – my fave, the Caprese: soft buttery boccini, tomatoes and prosciutto drizzled with balsamic vinegar in a fresh-baked bun. Sal’s also does a great business in freshly prepared take out – I’m a regular stopping in for lasagne, grilled peppers, bruschetta and more. (Need to impress guests? Remove from foil containers, place in a fancy serving platter and voilà – dinner!) The deli has proven to be a huge success in just a few months and Sal is already renovating to start serving dinner Thursday and Friday nights. In true Napolese fashion the menu is created daily so every night is an adventure in Italian cuisine. 2. Opa! Nothing will awaken your taste buds like the garlic-infused tzatziki of Effronsini’s Paros Restaurant on Main. Take a Greek holiday with flaming Saganaki, keftes and my favourite, the seafood platter. The menu says it’s for two but between a few appetizers and the platter my family can stuff our faces until we barely have room for ouzo. 3. “Tonight’s special is” are my three favourite words at Peppercorns (located in the former Bella Italia). New owners Umesh and Usha Singh have brought their flair for world cuisine to Airdrie (see full story page 14). Always order the special. I’ve never been disappointed, from fresh halibut to steak to the desserts. Good wine selection too.
4. I just discovered India Palms in Luxstone and the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Palak Paneer, Saag Aloo, Chicken Vindaloo, it all translates into yum when scooped up with fresh Naan bread. It’s about time we had an Indian restaurant. 5. Pho. If you haven’t ventured past chicken chow main and egg rolls you need to step outside the take-out box. Pho (located across from Genesis Place) is excellent for Vietnamese. Fresh, fast and healthy. I personally recommend the salad rolls, (rice noodles, prawns and cilantro rolled and dipped into spicy peanut sauce). And their version of chicken noodle soup beats Campbell’s spoons down. 6. Meat lovers rejoice. If you have never been to the Butcher Shoppe you are in for a treat. Award-winning sausages, mouth-watering cuts of beef and plenty of ready-to-grill chicken, pork and beef already marinated and seasoned to perfection. Regulars know the stuffed potatoes are a natural add-on to your shopping list and get in early to grab a fresh peppercorn garlic baguette. 7. Cheese please. Sometimes my favourite meal is the simplest: a glass of Chianti, a selection of exquisite cheese and a crusty loaf of bread (eaten of course on a front porch whilst the sun sets). Airdrie’s Co-op has a phenomenal cheese counter with peppered goat cheese, smoky applewood cheddar, creamy havarti ... it’s hard to stop at just a few pieces. Grab a few fresh pears to dip in balsamic vinegar (seriously), a bag of fresh grapes and you are set. P.S. the asiago cheese bread is to die for. 8. Avenue Bakery – I just discovered this place and if you have a sweet tooth like me STAY AWAY. IT’S ALL MINE. Just kidding. I will share the melt-in-your-mouth truffles, the luscious cupcakes, the snickerdoodle cookies ... to hell with the diet. THIS is living. Located in the same strip mall as the Airdrie Medical Clinic on 1st Avenue. 9. If the only Japanese you’ve ever eaten is an orange, say hi to Sushi Haru. Yes, sushi in Airdrie. Who knew? I though the only place I would find good sushi meant a drive to Globefish in Calgary where I would have to stand in line with the pretentious yuppies. But no, I can pop into Sushi Haru and get the same (or I swear better) quality sushi, sashimi and tempura at a fraction of the price – good news when your daughters have discovered that sushi is better than a cheeseburger. There is even an Airdrie roll (and no, it doesn’t look like the water tower). 10. Renee Doucette’s kitchen. She’s my best friend and her cooking skills have surpassed mine. She creates meals for me such as Lobster-Stuffed Avocadoes and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée, and she swears she will get me to eat brussel sprouts now that she has a new recipe that involves pancetta and the brussel sprouts “end up as crispy as french fries.” She’s adventurous and passionate about food and wiggles in her chair when she is tasting something divine. Renee is my favourite dinner companion whether we dine out or get together to make the other lunch and catch up on gossip. She finds all her ingredients locally which tells you Airdrie’s grocery stores are keeping up with our city’s ever-expanding knowledge of culture LIFE and cuisine.
Agropur Fine Cheeses Available at Calgary Co-op
Canadian Reserve Cheddar A Superior quality, 3 year old cheddar with a firm satiny texture that blends well with the fruity, slightly sharp aroma. Best served with Port or full-bodied red wine.
Fresh Ideas for
Entertaining Made easy...
Discovery Cheese Box Discover the crème de la crème
of fine cheeses.
Are you looking for the perfect gift? Something to bring to your next holiday party or potluck? Or maybe just a way to say thank you to someone special? Enjoy the convenience of serving this collection of fine cheeses along with Lesley Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps, fresh bread, fresh fruit and nuts to create an elegant cheese board. Serve up some varieties of wine and beer for an educational and fun cheese pairing party. Add a wooden cutting board, a bottle of wine and a stylish cheese knife and you have the perfect gift for any occasion!
MOrE LIFE OnLInE
Pick up yours today at any Calgary Co-op deli counter.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TASTE OF AIRDRIE? TELL US AND WIN ONE OF THESE INCREDIBLE CHEESE GIFT BOxES FROM CALGARY CO-OP! GO ONLINE FOR FULL DETAILS, AIRDRIELIFE.COM
soup-er Gatherings LIFEstyle | cooking at home
Rosenborg Blue Cheeses Available at Calgary Co-op
Rosenborg-Castello® Traditional Blue Cheese is characterized by a soft texture and a mild, aromatic taste, which differentiates it from other blue cheeses. The mild taste is achieved through a combination of mild blue and a yogurt based culture. Rosenborg-Castello® Extra Creamy Blue Cheese is pleasantly aromatic and delightfully flavoursome. Made with extra fresh cream to give it an added richness to the texture. This cheese has a milder taste than traditional blue cheese.
of Friends and Family
Rosenborg-Castello® Noble Blue Cheese is a mild blue cheese with a soft, creamy texture. It is easily cut and spreadable. It melts easily and is ideal for many recipes. The taste is mild, yet aromatic and adds a unique taste to recipes.
Fresh Ideas for
Entertaining Made easy...
Rosenborg Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip
Fabulous with Cranberry Hazelnut or Rosemary Raisin Pecan Raincoast Crisps. ½ med. onion thinly sliced 1 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup mayonnaise 3/4 cup sour cream
85g Rosenborg Blue Cheese 170g Tre Stelle Mascarpone 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan to medium-low, add onion, cover and cook until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool. Whisk together mayonnaise and sour cream in a medium bowl, add the blue cheese and mascarpone, mash with a rubber spatula until smooth. Stir in caramelized onion.
38 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Add a twist to your next dinner party and eliminate the stress of menu planning when you put your guests to work by asking them to bring with them more than just a bottle of wine. Set a date, call your friends and tell them it’s a soup-er time for a gathering. yOu nEED A rEAsOn tO WArM up
Plan an early evening activity to get you, your family and friends moving and experiencing the benefits of fresh air. Think Festival of Lights, sleigh ride or, after the holiday season, a long walk through Airdrie around the Canals or across the pedestrian bridge.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with Lesley Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps.
Rosemary Raisin Pecan
our own stacey Carefoot has a few ideas for taking the chill out of a cold night
DOn’t BE A MArtyr. DELEgAtE
Eliminate stress on your soul and your budget by asking guests to bring over their favourite pot of homemade soup. The soup will stay hot by using crock pots while you enjoy your outdoor adventure. Prearrange soup selections ahead of time. Chowder, a broth and a hearty ethnic choice will ensure you have a soup selection to suit everyone’s taste buds.
ACCEssOrIzE AnD ACCOMpAny
Bread bowls can be purchased at the local grocery store or pre-ordered from a bakery. For some reason hearty chowder tastes better when you can eat the bowl. Use bread bowls for the heartier or more robust soups and save the glass bowls for lighter, brothier soups. Because soup is filling and you have planned ahead to ensure variety, you won’t have to spend much time fussing with appe-
nEW EngLAnD CLAM CHOWDEr 1/2 package bacon 1/2 medium-sized white onion, coarsely chopped 1/2 cup margarine +/- 8 cups 2% milk +/- 1 cup white flour 6 white potatoes, cubed 6 stalks celery, chopped 4 carrots, chopped 1 can baby clams, drained salt and pepper to taste Cut bacon into small pieces and brown with onions in a large soup pot. In a separate medium-sized sauce pan cover potatoes, celery and carrots with water and bring to a boil, cooking until tender. When onions and bacon are browned and almost crispy add margarine. When melted, add just enough flour to make a roux (thick paste). Turn heat to medium and add milk to roux mixing slowly with a wooden spoon to eliminate lumps. This will result in a thick mixture. Add all contents of second pot including hot water to bacon/onion roux a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. Add baby clams, simmer and enjoy. Be careful not to scald the mixture. Serves eight.
supEr EAsy FAux pHO 1 bag frozen oriental vegetables 2 cups chicken broth 2 pkgs vermicelli rice noodles (found in Asian section of supermarket) Garnishes such as parsley, lemon grass, basil and chili oil. Use your imagination!
tizers. A simple cheese tray or a few finger foods will be more than enough. sAVOur tHE FLAVOur
After spending time outdoors, arrive home with your rosy-cheeked friends and family to the waiting aroma of homemade soup. Perhaps even better than the taste of the soup – clean up is a breeze with this new tradition LIFE that will warm you, heart and soul.
tOrtELLInI sOup 1 lb Italian sausage (casing removed) 2 cups onions, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves 5 cups beef broth 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup dry red wine (could use water ... but why?) 2 cups tomatoes, chopped, seeded and peeled 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced 1/2 tsp basil leaves 1/2 tsp oregano leaves 8 oz can tomato sauce 2 cups zucchini, sliced 8 oz (2 cups) frozen tortellini 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 1 medium green pepper, chopped grated parmesan cheese
Castello Gorgonzola Available at Calgary Co-op
Castello® Gorgonzola gets its inspriration from the fine tradition of Italian Gorgonzola, but has that North American twist. While still embodying the classical ”Blue Bite” and piquant flavours, the taste is slightly more salty and the texture is firmer, making it easy to crumble into sauce or over salads.
Fresh Ideas for
Entertaining Made easy...
Spinach, Gorgonzola and Artichoke Heart Pizza 1 MARKETPLACE DELI pizza shell 125g fresh spinach
30-45 ml sundried tomato paste or tomato puree 8 artichoke hearts from antipasto hearts in oil, drained
Brown sausage in Dutch oven. Leaving 1 tbsp of drippings in Dutch oven, sauté onions and garlic until onions are tender. Add beef broth, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce and sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Skim fat from soup, add zucchini, tortellini, parsley and green pepper. Simmer covered for an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until tortellini are tender. Top with parmesan cheese. Serves eight.
10 cherry or baby plum tomatoes – halved 125g Rosenborg-Castello® Gorgonzola Cheese - crumbled
Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF. 1. Place the spinach in a sieve, pour a little boiling water over spinach to just soften and allow to drain. 2. Spread pizza crust with sundried tomato paste, then top with the other ingredients. 3. Bake as directed on shell packaging and serve hot. If desired, lightly blanch more spinach as directed above and add to hot pizza on removal from oven.
MOrE LIFE OnLInE
Heat chicken broth, add vegetables and let simmer. Following package directions soften and rinse noodles. Allow guests to build their own Faux Pho by adding broth to noodles and garnishing to suit their own taste and sense of adventure.
DO YOU HAVE A GREAT SOUP RECIPE? SHARE IT WITH OTHER READERS. GO TO AIRDRIELIFE. COM AND YOU MAY BE FEATURED IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE! PLUS ENTER TO WIN A GOURMET CHEESE BOx FROM CALGARY CO-OP
LIFEstyle | libations
Cheddar with Old Speckled Hen Ale Available at Calgary Co-op
Cheddar with Old Speckled Hen Ale combines cheddar with the added flavor from Old Speckled Hen ale, a premium ale with finely balanced flavours and is enhanced with whole grained mustard.
Fresh Ideas for
Entertaining Made easy...
Crunchy Pilgrims Choice Cheddar Salad 2 romaine leafs, roughly shredded 75g watercress 3 celery sticks, chopped 1 red apple, cored and chopped 1 tbsp lemon juice 125g seedless red grapes, halved 50g blanched almonds, lightly toasted
225g Pilgrims Choice Cheddar with Old Speckled Hen Ale, cut into chunks Dressing 8 tbsp low fat yogurt 1 tbsp clear honey 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Put the lettuce, watercress and celery into a large salad bowl. Toss the apple chunks in the lemon juice and add them to the salad with the grapes and almonds. Add the chunks of Cheddar to the salad bowl and gently toss everything together. To make the dressing, mix the yogurt. honey and lemon zest. Share the salad between 4 serving bowls and spoon the dressing over them. Serve at once. Remember that the cheese is best served at room temperature to enjoy its full flavour, so take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before making salad.
40 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
RAISE A A toast to Airdrieâ€™s purveyors of palate-pleasing pinots and more
GLASS BY ALEx FRAzER-HARRISON | PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER
rom wine to spirits, Airdrionians who enjoy the occasional tipple don’t need to head into Calgary to find a variety of product from around the world. Several stores in the city offer a wide selection of wine and other drinks, and thanks to the Internet local customers are savvier than ever about the options available. “They know what they want – they look online and ask me if they can buy this stuff,” says Zubeda Jessa of Horseman’s Liquor Store Ltd. on 2 Ave. N.E. “The other day, my neighbour [told] me about Quails’ Gate, a winery I never knew before.” (Quails’ Gate Winery, located in the Okanagan, is an acclaimed producer of dessert and specialty wines, as well as popular styles such as merlot, pinot noir, rosé and cabernet sauvignon.) “Because the customer doesn’t have a licence, and wanted a specialty order, he came to me,” says Jessa. “Anything they want, I’ll order for them.” Jessa’s store has served Airdrie for 18 years, and she says it has become a destination for not only locals, but also visitors looking for the unique and unusual, both in wines and other spirits. Taking pride of place next to the till is an assortment of vodkas in wild bottles that are as much fun to look at as they probably are to drink. For example, Crystal Head vodka comes in a skull-shaped bottle that looks like an escapee from the last Indiana Jones movie, while Firestarter vodka comes, appropriately, in a bottle shaped like a fire extinguisher. “If they inquire, and if I find it in the book, I will order for them, like the aged [wines],” says Jessa, adding there is no particular wine that is more popular than another in her store these days. “I’ll go with the customers’ choice and whatever they like; that is what I or-
der for them.” Although Jessa has become well versed in the different types of wines and spirits her store offers, she does have one surprise in store for her customers. “I don’t drink!” she laughs. Calgary Co-op Wine & Spirits has a location in Airdrie on Main St. S., and product manager Remo Martucci recently travelled to the source to see where some of the more popular wines on his shelves are made. “We went to Italy … to visit vineyards and wine cellars to do barrel tastings,” he says. “This year, we were up in the Veneto region and doing the Amarone. We were lucky enough to be there at harvest time.” Martucci and his colleagues also got to see wine-making in Tuscany, and he says the experience translates into more-informed staff back home. “Besides the trips, in Airdrie we have a sommelier. A sommelier has an understanding of the wines and the way they are made, and all the wine regions,” Martucci says. One topic customers in Airdrie are interested in is “wine pairing” – finding that perfect union of wine and food. “That seems to be very popular these days, and a lot of our staff does in-house seminars, [to] teach what you can match with [for example] beef and chicken, and especially with cheeses,” says Martucci. The Co-op also offers online access to pairing suggestions, he adds. Until a few years ago, if you said “wine” most people would have first thought of the Okanagan or Napa Valley. Today, Martucci says, the grape juice of choice is malbec from Argentina. “We’re probably one of the best provinces for wine selection,” he says. “Most people are aware they can get just about anything in this province,” whether they live in Airdrie or Calgary, Martucci adds. LIFE
Sticky Toffee Cheese Available at Calgary Co-op
Fresh Ideas for
Entertaining Made easy...
Try this new favorite, Sticky Toffee Cheese from England. Rich and dense, this cheese has luscious flavours of brown sugar and caramel mixed with warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. Sticky Toffee is best served with a medium dry white wine, like a Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio. It is also great for serving after dinner with hot black tea and cream. Try these delicious, easy ways to serve Sticky Toffee Cheese:
• Makes a fantastic brunch when toasted on top of raisin bread. • Place a slice on top of a piece of warm apple pie. • Grate and sprinkle on top of pancakes, warm until melted. Serve with fresh fruit or vanilla ice cream.
Prima Donna Cheese Prima Donna is the unique cheese specialty for everyone who loves the tastes of Italy. The unique combination of the wonderful flavour of Parmesan and the best traditional Dutch cheese, mark the character of this exclusive delicacy. Goes especially well on a cheese board, in salads or warm dishes. Exclusive to Calgary Co-op
Prima Donna fino Mature & nutty taste.
Prima Donna maturo Extra mature & full bodied taste.
Prima Donna leggero Light & savoury.
Lifestyle | Wine
wine Story by Anne Beaty Photo by Sergei Belski
Wine making has come a long way from the plonk your grandpa made
his winter might be just the time to try a new indoor hobby; one which, with a little patience, can ultimately pay remarkable dividends and probably put you at the top of the A list of party hosts. Home wine-making has come a long way since your parents’ day and those interesting concoctions they used to foist upon their good – very, very good – friends. The quality of wine-making kits has vastly improved over the years and the list of different types of wines to try – Chilean, Argentinian, Italian, French, Australian – is lengthy. “That’s the neat thing about this hobby – you try different styles,” says Paul Sass, owner of The Home Vintner, which opened its Airdrie store in 2002. For many, wine-making begins with a few bottles and develops into a lifelong pursuit, punctuated by ongoing education. “This curve of learning goes forever,” Sass says. And as the hobby evolves, more depth can be added by expanding the repertoire to include such specialties as ice wine, sherry, champagne and port. “I personally keep a 25-litre port barrel on tap, because I’m excessive,” Sass says. While some go whole hog, incorporating wine cellars into their homes and travelling 42 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
the world to discover new vintages, winemaking is a hobby that needn’t be taken overly seriously. “It’s fun,” he says. “Just be patient – that’s a big thing.” For Sass, his love of fine wine encouraged him to leave a career as a commercial pilot and open The Home Vintner in Calgary in 1994. Since then, the store has expanded to include eight branches around Southern Alberta and he has shared his passion with thousands of budding oenophiles. The key to success, Sass says, is to start with a good wine-making kit. What frustrates him is hearing horror stories from people whose wine-making attempts have resulted in undrinkable slop. “There’s a lot of bad information out there,” he says.“My worry is that people throw their hands up and stop because of bad kits.” With the high quality of kits on the market these days, though, there’s no need to be intimidated or put off by past experience. “You don’t ever [need to] be drinking bad wine,” Sass says.“Life’s too short.” Local wine-makers apparently agree. Since The Home Vintner opened its doors in Airdrie, more than 800 people have taken the store’s free wine-making class. “You get addicted to making wine,” says local resident Keith Sanders, who has made between 500 and 600 bottles since he first started a couple of years ago. Along with the enjoyment of producing his own unique beverages, wine-making has provided Sanders with an outlet for creativity. He is currently working on a blueberry port, a challenging endeavour, but one well worth
the effort. Another plus, especially in a down economy, Sanders says, is that homemade wine is a lot less expensive than store-bought, running from a couple of dollars a bottle up to perhaps $5 or $6. “It’s very inexpensive to get going,” he says, adding that he also recycles the bottles he uses. Many of today’s aspiring wine-makers are what Sass terms‘returnees’ – people who tried wine-making in years past (unsuccessfully) and are now coming back into the fold. One such returnee is Airdrie’s Dean Constantini, who made his own wine several years ago, but was unimpressed with the product. “It was horrible,” he says with a laugh. Now, Constantini is back at it, with great results. What has made this wine-making enterprise so successful, he says, has been starting with good kits and taking the time to learn and ask questions. “Educate yourself,” he says. That education is readily available. The Home Vintner hosts regular events throughout the year – free wine- and beer-making classes, wine appreciation nights and even wine-food pairing events. When it comes to producing your own wine at home, the hobby is one that can soon become a passion. Sass recalls a condominium complex in Calgary’s Tuscany area, which began with a few wine-makers and now boasts nearly 40. The group has even built a wine room in the underground parking lot. “There is a passion with wine that you don’t get with other hobbies,” Sass says. LIFE
Lifestyle | Coming Soon
ake one century-old house, add a couple with big dreams, sift in some hungry customers and
Rico and Loy Pacheco toast to a successful new venture
Rico’s in theVillage story by Alex Frazer-Harrison Photo By Kristy Reimer
Craving tapas? Your appetite will soon be satisfied
Recipe for success? Rico and Loy Pacheco hope so. The couple are converting the 105-year-old former manse next door to Airdrie United Church into Rico’s in the Village, an intimate tapas restaurant in one if the city’s historic districts. “Tapas is a Spanish word meaning ‘to cover,’” explains Chilean-born Rico. “People would sit and have their sherry and port, and would put a piece of stale bread over top to cover the drink from the fruit flies. That was a tapas.” Eventually, he says, someone added a piece of cheese or ham to the bread, and one day the sherry ceased to be a part of the tapas, which evolved into a style of fancy appetizer. SAIT-trained chef Rico and his wife, Loy, spent a decade working in the hotel industry and for small restaurants in Vancouver before moving to Airdrie to raise a family. “Working in the hospitality industry you work weekends, nights, and I wanted to be home on the weekend,” says Rico. “My dad had a trucking company out here, so I started driving a truck for him.” But cooking was always Rico’s first love, and when the couple had an opportunity to buy the former manse on 1st Avenue N., they jumped at the chance. “The church next door … was a Methodist church when it first opened,” Loy says. “This was the manse where the minister would stay. Later, it was a residential home and there were some homebased businesses here.” The two-level, 1,300-sq. ft. building, once conversion is complete, will be a maximum 40-seat restaurant where Rico will be able to ply his guests with not only tapas, but a mix of specialty and Latin dishes such as pulled pork on a garlic crouton topped with tomato marsala reduction, and steamed mussels with sauce Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 43
Lifestyle | Dining Out
Aurore, to name just a couple. There’s also ‘Rico’s Craving’: “People will come in and ask, what is Rico craving today?” says Loy. “Once you get to know and trust his cooking, it’s something you’ll look forward to.” A private upstairs room will be available for small gatherings, as well as business meetings – Rico plans to install Wi-Fi. During summertime, a small patio will allow a few diners to eat under the stars. It adds up to a big-city place to eat. But before the first soups hit the stove, there’s the hard work of making it a reality. Besides working through community issues, Rico and Loy also faced a barrage of permits and inspections before they could even start changing the drywall. “The City usually likes for people to hire a planner [that] deals with all the paperwork and sets up meetings with the
neighbours … it costs money, and with a small business, every penny counts,” says Rico. “But the City’s website is amazing – every answer you need is there.” Loy says it’s taken longer than anticipated to get everything in place. One issue is parking – they plan to convert the manse’s backyard into parking space, but Loy says they want to do so in a way that impacts neighbours as little as possible. The Pachecos have teamed up with a local firm that specializes in conversions of this type, and examined how other home-to-restaurant conversions worked in Calgary. The key to a successful project like this, Rico says, is “don’t hide anything. We’ve been upfront and open about everything we’ve done.” Meanwhile, Airdrie food-lovers have something to look forward to. “We want it to be the same as if you’d come to my house to eat,” says Rico. LIFE
Planned menu items at Rico’s in the Village include (subject to change): • Pulled pork on a garlic crouton topped with
tomato marsala reduction
• Sweet onion compote on rosemary focaccia • Shrimp skewers with tequila, lime and sour
cream with hint of curry, on a bed of napa
cabbage and snow pea slaw
• Sirloin skewers with red peppers drizzled
with peppercorn brandy sauce, served with
organic bean ratatouille
• Grilled Hungarian peppers stuffed with
fig, chevre and black garlic, with a hint
• Steamed mussels with sauce Aurore • Pan-fried scallops with black garlic and
• Pasta a la cebolla (spaghetti tossed with
caramelized onion, bacon, artichoke hearts,
mushrooms and fresh herbs)
• Carne a la olla (merlot-braised roast served
with pomme gratin and steamed carrots)
It’s our cheesiest contest ever!
WIN a gourmet cheese gift box courtesy of Calgary Co-op and Agropure valued at $50 We’re giving away one gift box each week until Jan. 16th
HURRY! Visit airdrielife.com for complete contest details, and enter today 44 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Lifestyle | Baking
Local bakery owner enjoys the sweet smell of success
Debi Macleod prepares for another sweet day With
Cakery and Bakeshoppe, Airdrie is blessed with a first- class bakery while its owner, Debi Macleod, enjoys the sweet smell of success. You can’t say that the treats available at The Avenue Cakery and Bakeshoppe are just like Grandma used to bake because they aren’t. From the lemon bars to the chocolate brownies, the cinnamon buns to the muffins, these wares are better tasting and more divine than anyone’s Grandma, anywhere, could ever produce. No offense. “You can tell all of these things are made with love,” says Jeanie, a regular customer who has been dropping in on a daily basis since the bakery opened in September. “I don’t like sweets, they’re not my thing, but all of this stuff ...,” she says, sweeping her hand over the display cases filled with treats, kind of like the Vanna White of the bakery world, “this stuff is different, it’s made with passion, it’s almost addicting,” she laughs. The person behind all this love and passion is shop owner Macleod. With an extensive culinary and pastry background, she saw an opening and jumped at the chance of a lifetime to start her own cakeshop and bakery. “Airdrie is more than worthy of having a great bakery with a wide variety,” says Macleod, who shows up at the shop every morning at 5 to begin her daily routine. This daily routine is responsible for the unbelievable aromas that continually waft from the bakery located on 1st Avenue. The
story by Stacey Carefoot | photos by Kristy Reimer
smell of bread that is beginning to rise, cinnamon buns that just came out of the oven and gingersnaps sprinkled with sugar is, to say the least, wonderfully overwhelming long before you even enter the building. By sticking with the basics and old-fashioned favourites and ensuring everything is made from scratch, Macleod has already struck a cord with local connoisseurs as well as Calgary restaurant O, for which she is the exclusive dessert supplier. Old standbys like her top-selling “Insane” brownies, incredibly delicious lemon bars, cookies, tarts, truffles and squares line the shelves of the display cases inside the store. The inventory changes daily but the quality and rich flavours remain the same. “When it comes to chocolate, I only use Bernard Callebaut,” says Macleod, commenting on her commitment to quality through the use of superior ingredients. “I bake based on how I feel that day,” says Macleod, who admits that special orders are becoming increasingly popular. By preordering baked goods for special occasions and holidays in particular customers will be guaranteed that the desserts and sweet treats of their choice will be available. “People come in here and are disappointed if I’m out of bread or buns but I only bake for the day,” she says. “Homemade bread is such hard work and requires enough attention that it deserves to be eaten that day.” In addition to being a master at the clas-
sics, Macleod is also a talented cake decorator and designer. “Some people have forgotten how great a homemade cake tastes,” says Macleod, who offers up an assortment of flavour options, icings and finishing touches to all of her cakes. Through consultations Macleod is able to get a good feel for a customer’s tastes and desires and uses her creativity and meticulous attention to detail to ensure satisfaction. A taste is worth a thousand words when it comes to the Avenue Cakery and Bakeshoppe, so take our advice: slip into your loosest-fitting pair of jeans and take a trip to Airdrie’s newest bakery. Swing by and pick your Grandma up on LIFE the way. She’ll be glad you did. [recipe sidebar also]
Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 45
Lifestyle | PhotoLIFE
Down the road With a camera and a pen Carl Patzel discovers the roads from Airdrie lead to photogenic opportunities 46 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Country roads take me home to the place I belong.
Okay I admit that line was stolen from songster John Denver, but regardless of whether itâ€™s West Virginia or a Mountain Momma youâ€™re trying to get back to, cruising down country roads offers a different glimpse from the everyday trip down the highway. When it comes to scenic ventures Airdrie is no different. You can hop in the SUV and head down rural routes in all four directions and get a glimpse of what makes southern Alberta a picturesque paradise. In just minutes, or in some cases less, you can find some gravel leading to that road less travelled. Sometimes smooth, sometimes rough, these back roads can lead to old houses built by early settlers in the area, livestock of all kinds, crops and fields offering colourful backdrops and of course mountain views. At one turn I was challenged by a trio of intent-looking bulls who seemed to be just Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 47
Lifestyle | PhotoLIFE
begging me to jump the fence to their settled grounds. I didnâ€™t take them up on the assumed offer, and would advise anyone not to enter properties without owner permission. Another dusty drive offered a great view of yellow canola fields and a trio of Twister silos. On closer inspection I spotted a deer duo having a field day lunching on the luscious green leaves of the popular southern Alberta crop. Creeping through the thigh-high crop, I managed to get close enough for just a couple of photos before the anxious animals spotted me and bounded off for another grazing ground. Looking past the weathered wood of old settlement homes, you can picture a lush life that was only achieved through hard work and a determination to tame the wild west through the skill of farming and ranching. Weather-beaten, gnarled fence posts separate endless acres with sharp and sometimes rusty barbed wire and make a perfect perch for various species of hawks calling this area their home. Paint-peeled barns can be seen around any turn long lost to the days of bright red colours and more active days. Take in the roller coaster ride to the west, flat lands to the east, prairies to the north and the Calgary city skylines to the south, and you could say itâ€™s almost LIFE heaven. At least for those who love a Sunday drive in the country. MORE LIFE ONLINE SEE ALL THE PICTURES FROM THIS GREAT PHOTO SHOOT ONLINE AT
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community Cooking School | 53
Indoor Kicks | 57
Buffalo Range | 63 Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE
Cupcakes have come a long way, darlin’
COMMUNITY | column
LIFEtimes BY ELLEN KELLY
I mean the edible ones, not the“cupcakes” who call me“dear.” As in,“Can I help you find something, DEAR?” “No thanks, cupcake, just looking.” Some folks think I’m being overly sensitive about this, but honestly, nobody called me dear until about five years ago when I quit colouring my hair. It is now proudly grey but sets me firmly in an age group and gender that is supposed to quietly disappear into the woodwork while knitting socks. So a little endearment from the service industry is appropriate? I don’t think so. I’ll be the first to admit that some people call everyone dear with no offence meant or taken. Really though, I can tell instantly if someone is a regular “dear” user or is patronizing me. I’ve tried responding with “toots” but it’s just not me, or with “honey,” but they think I’m serious. However, “cupcake” seems to fit the bill. But I digress. The cupcakes of my grey and disappearing generation were made from cake mix, slathered in pastel green icing and decorated with an assortment of bright-coloured or shiny sprinkles, chocolate chips, jelly beans or cinnamon hearts, and served to eager kindergarten students as a special treat on junior’s birthday. What used to be a rather tawdry treat for the kids, who tended to lick off the icing and leave the cake (read: crumbs) in their little paper holders, has matured into something more complicated – animal heads, rocket ships and a wide assortment of characters with eyes, whiskers, ears and moustaches. The once easy-toprepare treat has become a work of imagination and art. With icing gun in hand and an assortment of small treats, the sky is the limit when it comes to turning out cupcake delights. And that’s not all. Cupcakes have gone uptown. Specialty cupcake shops serve delicious treats, not made from any cake mix that I’ve discovered, and topped with rich, creamy, decadent icing fitting the three-dollar-a-pop cost. The cake no longer falls apart and the icing, in any imaginable flavour, is arranged in swirls and rosebuds atop these lovely little cakes which are welcome at meetings, parties, even weddings. A platter of these treats makes a sophisticated table centre when surrounded by linen napkins, fine china and crystal stemware. Cupcakes carefully decorated in appropriate colours and placed on a tiered pedestal become a unique wedding cake. Cupcakes have become classy. I’d better watch what I’m saying. When someone says, “Have a nice day, LIFE DEAR,” and I say,“You too, cupcake,” it might be taken as a compliment. 50 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Community | Schools Story by Ellen Kelly | Photo by Sergei Belski
Feeding minds and tummies T
Adding nutrition to the three Rs is one of the goals of the R.J. Hawkey Breakfast Program
he R.J. Hawkey Breakfast Program was established in 1991 by a group of concerned parents who noticed children were coming to school hungry. At first a volunteer program under the supervision of Gail Wenzlawe, it has since grown, acquired funding, and now has a paid co-ordinator and one staff person as well as volunteers from the community, Bert Church High School’s Leadership Program and Fortis. Volunteers undergo a security check and are trained, but the real necessity, says Lori McRitchie, who has been running the program since 1998, “is people who have a heart for kids.” The program mandate is to care for children who have needs for personal, social and/or nutritional support outside the home on school-day mornings. Starting the day with a good breakfast is important but not the only consideration of the program, which deals with concerns such as nutritional education, hygiene, conflict resolution and homework support. “We deal with issues before they go to school so they have a clean slate and are ready to learn,” says McRitchie.“They’ve been heard and supports with administration have been put in place if necessary by the time they go to the classroom.” Twenty-five to 35 children from kindergarten to grade four attend the Breakfast Program daily for a variety of reasons. It is open to any child, any time, on a one-time or regular basis. “You don’t have to sign up, just show up,” says McRitchie, who is passionate about this program. “It’s free to all children who feel the need to be there or whose parents have sent them.” Breakfast consists of hot or cold cereal, 52 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
yogurt, juice, fresh fruit, crackers and cheese and peanut butter (nut-free breakfasts can be supplied if necessary). Once a month, special breakfasts offering pancakes, sausages, etc. are held. The food program operates under the Airdrie Food Bank umbrella and funding from Family and Children’s Support Services (FCSS) has paid for administration in
the past. From 7:15 a.m. to bell time, students participate in crafts, sports – something different every day. Help with homework is available and a sympathetic ear listens to small quarrels and big problems. Good hygiene and appropriate nutrition choices are taught and if a child comes without socks or mitts, they’re given socks or mitts – whatever the individual needs. “[The program] isn’t structured and nothing is required of the kids except to be themselves,” says McRitchie. “The kids enjoy being here and they go to class settled. Teachers notice less behaviour issues because concerns have been dealt with already.” The R.J. Breakfast Program is a model for success. In 1999, Exxon Mobil started a program in Calgary schools called Fuel for Schools and used the R.J. program as a model.
“They liked the idea that we did more than feed the kids,” says McRitchie. “They found that the mentoring component was really important.” The program has changed sponsorship but is still running in many Calgary schools. R.J. Hawkey has the only breakfast program running in Airdrie and area, but a needs assessment shows that all area schools have students with nutritional needs each morning. McRitchie, who is also executive director of the Airdrie Food Bank, has come up with some suggestions for schools and what they can do toward dealing with hungry kids. A program at the food bank called Snack Attack provides shelf items (for both breakfast and lunch) to 16 area schools. “The schools place an order and we deliver,” says McRitchie. “We provided 5,000 items to schools last year. We don’t want teachers to ever have to say no LIFE to a hungry student.” The R. J. Breakfast Program appeals to the community for help in the following areas: - Funding to replace FCSS funding, which will cease in January 2010 - Milk and dairy sponsorship as these are perishable items and cannot be donated - Volunteers to keep breakfast time a happy time Donations to the Food Bank can be directed to the R.J. Hawkey Breakfast Program at the donor’s request Tax receipts are issued for donations Further questions? Contact Lori McRitchie, Breakfast Program co-ordinator, at 403-948-3939
Community | Schools Megan Piper shows off a freshly prepared dessert
Foods 101 At Airdrie high schools you can get an education and eat it too story and photos by Carl Patzel “Hey Mom, when I graduate I want to
be just like that (bleeping) Gordon Ramsey and be a Hell’s Kitchen chef.” It may sound a little far-fetched, but with the Food Network and cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Iron Chef heating up prime-time television, some high school students are putting down their pens for a much sharper chef ’s knife. “I’d like to say it’s just me that’s inspiring them, but I had a student tell me that when he grows up he’s going to be in Hell’s Kitchen
and learn under Gordon Ramsey,” says St. Martin de Porres high school food instructor Stephanie MacLean. Knead some progressive recipes into the dough, and Food 30 students are producing much more complex recipes than your average macaroni and cheese, and it’s not just the girls. It could be that the male teenage palate has become more sophisticated, or it’s become more acceptable for guys to stir up batter in a food class, but plenty of young men are pick-
ing up a spatula at the high school level. “With dawning of celebrity chefs, predominately male, it really breaks down some of those stereotypes, which I think is fantastic,” say MacLean, who usually has a waiting list for her foods class. “Bobby Flay is fantastic and he has his own cooking show on top of being one of the Iron Chefs. He’s actually a good role model.” The trend toward more male participants, and more interest in general for the Career Technology Studies food programs, isn’t just Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 53
Community | Schools
isolated to St. Martin de Porres high school. George McDougall high school food instructor Traci Upshaw has seen a constant increase in young men ready to bang a few pots and pans together in her kitchen. “This semester I have far more males in foods than I have females,” says Upshaw. In fact 10 of the 12 students in Food 30 at George McDougall are male. Upshaw also credits popular television programs such as Ace of Cakes and other food network challenge programs in helping boost interest in food studies.
These days it’s easy for students to have their cake, decorate it and eat it too. A full stomach is also a great motivator for the teenage pallet, says Tschritter. “They get really excited when they see something work out, and they have fun in this class. And they like to eat.” Desserts come first in the Bert Church Foods program, but it doesn’t stop at the sweet tooth. Similarly all the high school foods curriculums include breads, stock soups and sauces and meat cookery while touching on nutri-
Brennen Olfert whips up an ‘A’
“Often times they will come in and say ‘that’s my favourite show.’ I think it has increased the interest.” At Bert Church high school, Foods instructor Lisa Tschritter has also noticed that teen channel surfing among the reality TV culinary programs is connecting her kids. “The areas that really excite them are cakes, pastry and baking. They are quite diverse ... they do watch things like Cake Boss and Ultimate Cake Off,” says Tschritter of her Foods 30 class. 54 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
tion throughout. St. Martin de Porres instructor MacLean attempts to show students comparisons between the benefits of homemade meals versus packaged foods. “There’s no comparison [between] a homemade soup to something that is coming out of a can. And the health factor is so much more ‘in’ when comparing something from scratch,” says MacLean. “They get to learn how to cook and prepare some fantastic feasts but they also get
to learn about nutrition more than they normally would.” For the more serious-minded the recent WorldSkills competition in Calgary proved a venue for students to pick up a few pointers in the cooking and baking arts. Instructors also try to mix in field trips to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to give students a glimpse into its cooking programs. Tschritter has had several of her former Bert Church school students want to take her stove-top teaching as a stepping stone to the world of professional cooking. “Especially in grade 12 you want them to expand their horizons and think bigger. You can make really good money, but you have to be good at it,” says Tschritter. Besides baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies, or planning more sophisticated snacks for a party, Tschritter also teaches the class to go beyond their mixing bowls and explore the gastronomic universe of a true chef. “Being a chef is way different than being a cook. Presentation is huge and bigger than it ever used to be. It used to be ‘just fill the plate’ and has become an art form now.” George McDougall school hotplate hopefuls also explore their creativity through baking and offer gingerbread houses and display cakes at Christmas. Students also host an international cuisine evening, having studied customs and foods from a selected country and serving invited guests their tasty creations. Whether it’s television or just shifting palate interests, Upshaw sees only good things from the boiling popularity of the celebrity chef for the high school programs. “It’s made the prestige rise up. People really appreciate more now what chefs do. It’s not like you’re just a cook anymore.” Although high school can be hell, or in this case Hell’s Kitchen, unlike television Upshaw endeavours to get her students to concentrate on the food and not the drama. Only a few aspire to get yelled at by Chef Gordon Ramsey. “We can’t use that kind of language in school. But we don’t have food fights so I shouldn’t have to anyway,” Upshaw says with LIFE a laugh.
Community | Family
Gluten-Free Eating story by Ellen Kelly | Photos by Carl Patzel
Cathy and Bruno Perrotta use rice noodles in favour of wheat, barley and rye products while sticking to a strict gluten-free diet. Bruno also uses rice and potato flour in his homemade blueberry muffin recipe. Cathy suffers from the autoimmune disorder, Celiac disease
No wheat, no barley, no problem
luten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale – grains that are ground to make the flour we use in baking and cooking. It helps bread and other baked goods bind or “hang together” and prevents crumbling. This characteristic makes gluten a common and useful addition to many processed and packaged foods. When we think of sandwiches, pasta, cereals and other baked goods, most of us think
we couldn’t live without it. Some people can’t live with it. The most common reason for pursuing a gluten-free diet is Celiac disease, a condition that can surface at any age. There is a genetic link as well as a cultural consideration. For example, about 10 per cent of relatives of persons with Celiac disease may also have the condition, and Celiac disease is most common in people of western European heritage.
There is no cure, but it can be controlled. People with this condition of the small intestine cannot digest gluten, which in turn damages the intestine and renders it incapable, in varying degrees, of absorbing protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals from the foods they eat. “You can be eating and taking in quite a few calories but you are not absorbing nutrients in the damaged parts of your intestine. Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 55
Community | Family
Renae Warne, afflicted with autoimmune disorder Celiac disease, lives a gluten-free lifestyle free of wheat, barley and rye. She uses rice flour in her vanilla blueberry muffins
As it gets worse and worse, you absorb less and less,” says Cathy Perotta, who has faithfully followed a gluten-free diet for the past 14 years due to Celiac disease. For Celiacs, there can be hidden dangers in common foods. Besides the obvious places, gluten is found in malt vinegar, soy sauce, breaded meats, many flavourings and emulsifiers, gravy and sauces thickened with flour, beer, some hard liquor and fortified wine and even some cold medications. Reading labels is important and has become easier with new labelling laws. Some foods are now marked with a gluten-free symbol (a kernel of wheat with a line through it) or an obvious GF. Gluten is also included as a cautionary agent on the label’s ingredient list. The Celiac website www.celiac.ca posts warnings when the content of a product is changed. Celiacs must eat a gluten-free diet to remain healthy but more and more consumers are exploring gluten-free living for other reasons. Gluten intolerance and its accompanying skin rash also respond favourably to the diet. Some people feel a gluten-free diet can alleviate chronic intestinal problems and boost 56 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
energy. Others follow it because there is some indication of a correlation between gluten and several neurological disorders such as autism, epilepsy, ADD (ADHD), schizophrenia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches. (So far, scientific studies have been inconclusive.) Some people follow the diet simply because they feel it is a healthy choice. With an increased demand for gluten-free products, things are getting easier. “Fourteen years ago, it was hard,” says Perrotta. “I had to go to Chinatown to buy a bag of rice flour. Now it’s available in most supermarkets.” Specialty flours can be found in health and natural food stores and in some larger supermarkets, and a wide array of tasty, satisfying products are available both in packaged and frozen portions and as mixes to be made at home. Quinoa, a gluten-free South American grain, can be substituted for bulgur in dishes like tabouli. Perrotta has noticed a big improvement in eating out over the past decade. “At first I was treated like I was really high maintenance – people rolled their eyes at me because I asked a million questions.” Now she can go into a
nice restaurant and often order from a menu displaying items that are gluten-free. By calling ahead, the restaurant will usually adapt the menu to meet her needs. “It’s great,” she says. “Instead of getting gravy on my meal, I’ll get some kind of red wine reduction. At buffets I’ve had the chef come out and explain to me what I can and cannot eat.” Renae Warne, who was diagnosed with Celiac disease six-and-a-half years ago, resented paying a fortune for a gluten-free snack that tasted horrible. She saw a need, renovated a room in her home into a commercial kitchen, and began baking her own adapted gluten-free recipes. She no longer supplies outlets with her creations due to family responsibilities, but now enjoys baking for friends who are Celiacs. “I know how much I love it when I go somewhere and buy something and it’s fantastic. It’s a really good feeling to make something for someone who needs to eat it and they actually enjoy it – it’s nice to be able to offer that to someone else,” she says. When asked if she would bake professionally again, Warne says she doesn’t know because products have improved so much and there’s a lot more competition.“It’s much easier to shop now,” she says. Warne’s husband and two children follow the gluten-free diet at home. “We eat pretty normally,” she says. “We use rice pasta and there are good gluten-free pasta sauces on the market. And it totally tastes better than it used to.” Warne says she finds eating out harder. Sometimes she feels that restaurants don’t understand because she doesn’t have a reaction immediately. One of the biggest problems, though, is dining with friends and extended family who think that a little flour “to thicken something up” won’t hurt. “It’s a big mistake to think that a little bit is okay even if you don’t feel the symptoms,” she says. “The damage is still being done.” Note: Anyone following a long-term gluten-free eating regime should be aware it may cause deficiencies in B vitamins, specifically folic acid, and take the proper steps to ensure LIFE a balanced diet.
COMMUNITY | sports
Soccer finally moves indoors and hundreds of kids are hitting the turf STORY AND PHOTOS BY CARL PATzEL
gettIng theIr kIcks thIs WInter Just got
a little easier for local soccer players. Being left out in the cold for more than a decade, local soccer players will be able to lace up their shoes on two indoor pitches with the Genesis Place Recreation Centre Phase II development. “I think we’ve been talking to the city and internally within ADSA for probably the last 10 years about getting [indoor soccer] off the ground,” says Ole Jacobsen, past president and board of director of the Airdrie and District Soccer Association (ADSA) and first vice president of the Alberta Soccer Association. The idea of indoor soccer was first kicked around during the development of the six-field Monkton Soccer Park, when there were just two buildings and wind-swept fields surrounding the outdoor facility. On a clear day you could see forever and in the initial planning stages a parcel of that land near Ralph McCall school was designated as the ADSA’s if-we-build-it-they-will-come property. “That little piece of land was our dream to put in a one-field [indoor] soccer facility. We were looking for funding and opportunities,” says Jacobsen. They soon woke up from that dream and realized it was going to take more than a couple of free kicks to get their feet on some inside turf. With time running off the clock, and an offside chance of never getting the ball rolling on indoor soccer, the City of Airdrie began their plans to revamp the Genesis Place Recreation Centre. That was the open shot the ADSA was looking for. “We decided that the best opportunity for us was to build a two-field facility in Phase II. That is where our focus turned to, so after about five or six years we’re finally getting the two fields that we Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 57
Community | Sports
dreamed of,” Jacobsen adds. Nearly 60 sub-contractors, under Bird Construction, have been working throughout last winter and this past summer to get most of the Phase II facility open to the public by Dec. 1. The new facility will also include an indoor running track, gymnastics centre, multipurpose areas and meeting rooms, as well as play host to many sports including volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse, etc. Not to leave any shoe untied, indoor soccer was considered a major component factor during a community needs assessment in the initial expansion planning stage, says Genesis Place manager Greg Lockert. “That is a major indoor sport for the win58 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
ter months. Economy of scale says nowadays, instead of just building one, you’re better off building two fields and your costs are so much better.” Lockert looks at the $28-million upgrade, which includes renovations to Phase I, as a win-win situation for all involved. “The business people in town that have stepped up and sponsored Phase II will benefit from it because they don’t have to take their money into Calgary. Instead of supporting a Calgary product they can support an Airdrie product right here.” Each of the major user groups had to kick in five per cent funding for construction of the new facility. For soccer, the $250,000 ticket was a big,
but necessary, number to score an indoor pitch, says Jacobsen. “It’s a substantial investment from us, but the cost of these things are big. We are diligently working with the City to ensure that we continue to make soccer affordable and get the kids out there playing,” says Jacobsen, adding his bottom line is to keep kids in the football arena. “[I have a] strong belief that you can either provide kids recreation or a police force to keep them under control. And both of them cost the same.” Soccer leagues range in age from undersix years (U-6) to adult with registration fees from $130-190. The Aztec competitive travel league fees are higher. As current ADSA president and parent of three children involved in soccer for 10 years, Annette Cameron looks at indoor soccer as another option for youngsters during the winter months. “Traditionally in the winter we lose the girls to dance and figure skating and of course we lose a large portion of the boys to hockey. That will still happen, but this give those kids that don’t fit into mainstream sports another option,” Cameron says. Though soccer is a different game indoors than on the outdoor pitch, Cameron says the ADSA will now be able to continue not just leagues this winter but offer technical skill camps that will build a better year-round game. “It’s wonderful that we finally have a venue where we can start hosting camps and tournaments and take the wonderful community league we’ve built outdoors and bring at least half of those kids indoor. “We’re hoping with the introduction of indoor soccer we can show those kids, through some extra technical training, that we can earmark some of those kids that could possibly go competitive. We can shore up our competitive leagues and be a bit more of a force on the competitive side as well.” Cameron’s children now play in the competitive Aztec leagues at the U-12, U-14 and U-16 levels. Currently there are not enough players in Airdrie to begin their own competi-
of your advertising
The new indoor soccer fields at Genesis Place
tive leagues separate from those in Calgary. That means still travelling during the winter months for Aztec league play. “It would be wonderful at some point if Calgary started booking games out with us, but from a business point of view for Calgary they have to have 100 per cent capacity in their facilities before they would entertain that,” Cameron says. That, though, could change down the road with more growth in soccer registration. Currently between 600 and 700 people have registered for the indoor soccer leagues. The ADSA will host another drop-in registration later this winter. Soccer, like many other mainstay sports, competes for numbers each season. Since 2006 more than 1,600 players have donned uniforms for play on the outdoor fields each season. That’s a 25-per-cent increase compared to 2003 numbers. Looking at other cities that have adopted indoor soccer arenas, Jacobsen expects those numbers to kick up over the next couple of seasons. “Talking to people in other communities – Red Deer, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan – they indicated that once they got their indoor facility their first years of registration brought about 60 per cent of their outdoor people to indoor. “From there there was an explosion of demand for outdoor soccer. Now all of a sud-
den it was a recreational activity that could be done fairly close to home, reasonably inexpensive and could be continued throughout the spring and winter,” Jacobsen says. With the impact of the indoor game, Jacobsen is predicting outdoor registrations to increase to 15-20 per cent a season compared to the five-10 per cent growth they’ve observed over the past couple of years. Jacobsen is expecting to see growth at all levels, with more players advancing to the competitive Aztec levels. “The more people you get involved the stronger your competitive program becomes. It’s happened in other communities. There are always those players that strive to challenge themselves to the highest level and they want to get that stronger competition.” But for now the dream of kicking the black-and-white ball around a facility built for the sport has become a reality. Players of all ages, coaches and the many volunteers who make the ADSA a success now have a hugely visible indoor place to call their own. “We’re thrilled,“ concludes Annette Cameron. “It’s going to be a benefit [to] Genesis Place as well. Because when you have little Katie come in to play U-6 soccer, the siblings have an opportunity to go swimming, or do drop-in sports. And of course for mom and dad it would encourage membership because they can go work out or whatever while soccer is going on.” LIFE
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OD R AN CH
EAST LAKE BV
L SIDE WY
SPRING GROVE CR
O W GE LD SA D
SAG NO CA
WOO D SID
N TO A B
TAY L O
100 WOODSIDE PL B EM
EAST LAKE DR
S WAY FAIR
GR EN JENS S CO HT HEIG S EL R
RING 200 SP N CO HAVE
60 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010 WO O D CR
ER PL TILL
MEADOWLA RK RD
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NDALE CL OR TH
OWN AMST WIL LI OK KE RP
ION REU N GR
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CREEK SPRINGS RI
CREEK GARDENS PL JEN LD
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SILVER SPRIN GS GARDENS CL EAS
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1 AV 1 ST 2 AV 24 S T 3 AV 4 AV 5 AV 6 AV 8 ST
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CANOE CI 3B C R E E K S ID E B A 1C CANOE CL 3B C R O X FO R D P L 2C CANOE CR 3B E CANOE CV 3B CANOE DR 3B E A S T LA K E A V 2E CANOE GA 3B E A S T LA K E B V 2E - 5E CANOE GR 3B , 4B E A S T LA K E C I 3E , 3F C A N O E P L (100 - 200) 3B E A S T LA K E C R 2E , 3E CANOE RD 2B , 3B E A S T LA K E D R 3F CANOE SQ 3B E A S T LA K E G A 4E C A N O E S Q (100 - 200) 3B E A S T LA K E G R 3E C E N TR E A V 3C , 3D E A S T LA K E H L 3F C H A N N E LS ID E C M 4B E A S T LA K E LI 2E C H A N N E LS ID E C V 3B E A S T LA K E R D 2F, 3E , 3F C H A N N E LS ID E D R 4B E A S T LA K E R I 3E C H A N N E LS ID E R D 4B E A S T LA K E R P 2D , 2E C H A N N E LS ID E W Y 3B , 4B E A S T LA K E W Y 2E , 3E C H IN O O K W IN D S D R 6B E A S TE R B R O O K P L4D C H IN O O K W IN D S P L 5B E D E N D A LE C R 4D COOPERS BA 5C E D MO N TO N TR 2D , 3D , 4D COOPERS CI 5C , 6C E D MU N D W Y 4D COOPERS CL 5C EDW ARDS W Y 2C , 3C COOPERS CM 5C E LD E R W O O D P L 4D C O O P E R S C R O S S IN G G A 5 C , 6C E LD O R A D O R D 3D , 4D COOPERS DR 6C , 6D , 7C , 7D E LD R ID G E R I 4D COOPERS GV 6C E LIZA B E TH W Y 4D COOPERS HL 6C E LK H L 3C , 3D COOPERS HT 6C E LS MO R E P L 4D C O O P E R S LI 6C E LS TO N B A 4D C O O P E R S MR 6C E LS TO N P L 4D COOPERS PA 6C E MB E R D A LE W Y 3C , 4C , 4D COOPERS SQ 6C E ME R A LD C O 4D CREEK GARDENS CL 1C E MP R E S S P L 4D CREEK GARDENS PL 1C E R IN D R 4D C R E E K S P R IN G S R D 1C E V E R G LA D E B A 4D C R E E K S P R IN G S R I 1C E V E R G LA D E D R 4D
April 2009, City of Airdrie
100 COOPERS GV
LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E
HAW KEY CR 2C , 2D H IG H LA N D P A R K B V1E H IG H LA N D P A R K LN 1E H IG H LA N D P A R K W Y1E , 1F JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N
J CR 2D DR 2C , 2D H E IG H TS C O 2D H E IG H TS P L2D LD 2D PL 2D
E GSID RNIN MO PT
INGSI DE PL MORNINGSIDE
ING RN A MO IDE G MORNINGSIDE S
MORNING SIDE BA
INGMORN SIDE CO
6F 6E , 6F 6F 6E , 6F 6F 6E 5F 5F 6F 6E , 6F 5E , 5F, 6E , 6F 5F, 6F 5F, 6F 6E 6E 6E 5E , 6E , 7E 5D , 5E , 6D , 6E , 7D 6D , 6E BV 4C , 5C CR 5C DR 4C GA 5C GR 5C G R (100 - 200) 5C LD 4C LI 5C PA 5C PL 5C P L (100 - 500) 4C , 5C PT 4C RD 5C
G A TE W A Y D R G A TE W A Y LI G A TE W A Y R D
1C , 1D 1C , 1D 1D
K IN G S H E IG H TS D R K IN G S H E IG H TS B V K IN G S H E IG H TS G A K IN G S H E IG H TS R D K IN G S B U R Y V W K IN G S LA N D C L K IN G S LA N D C O K IN G S LA N D G A K IN G S LA N D H T K IN G S LA N D P L K IN G S LA N D R D K IN G S LA N D V W K IN G S LA N D W Y K IN G S TO N B A K IN G S TO N C R K IN G S TO N LI K IN G S V IE W B V K IN G S V IE W R D K IN G S V IE W W Y
COO PER HL S
FA IR W A YS B A 2A FA IR W A YS C I 2A FA IR W A YS C L (100) 2A FA IR W A YS C R 2A FA IR W A YS D R 2A FA IR W A YS G R 2A FA IR W A YS LD 2A FA IR W A YS ME 2A FA IR W A YS P L 2A FA R R C R 2C , 2D FLE TC H E R R D 2C FLE TT C R 2D FLE TT D R 2C , 2D FLE TT P L (100 - 200)2D
C OO P E R S SQ
200 COOPERS GV
RI SQ VW WY
5C 5C 5C 4C , 5C
MO U N TA IN C I
5E , 5F
Q E II
P R A IR IE S P R IN G S B A 6B P R A IR IE S P R IN G S C L6 B P R A IR IE S P R IN G S C R 6B MA C K E N ZIE W Y 3C P R A IR IE S P R IN G S C V 6B MA IN S T 1C - 5C , 4D - 7D P R A IR IE S P R IN G S D R 6B MA P LE W Y 5F P R A IR IE S P R IN G S G 6AB MA R Q U IS P L 5E , 5F P R A IR IE S P R IN G S G 6RB MA R Q U IS W Y 5E P R A IR IE S P R IN G S G 6VB MA R S E LLA C O 5F P R A IR IE S P R IN G S H L6 B MA YFA IR C L 4E , 5E P R A IR IE S P R IN G S P A 6B McC R A C K E N C R 2C R ME A D O W P L 5F ME A D O W B R O O K B A (100 - 600) 4F, 5F R A ILW A Y A V 3C ME A D O W B R O O K D R 5E , 5F R A ILW A Y G A 3B , 3C ME A D O W B R O O K G A 5F R A V E N S C R O FT A V 6F ME A D O W LA R K R D 4F R A V E N S C R O FT C L 6F MO N A R C H G A 5F R A V E N S C R O FT C R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E B A 6C , 6D R A V E N S C R O FT G R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E C I 7C , 7D R A V E N S C R O FT W Y 6F MO R N IN G S ID E C O 6C R A V E N S LE A C R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E C R 6C , 6D R A V E N S LE A G D 6F MO R N IN G S ID E G A 7D R A V E N S MO O R W Y 6F MO R N IN G S ID E G D 6D , 7D R A V E N S W O O D D R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E G R 6D R A V E N S W O O D V W 6F MO R N IN G S ID E LD 6C , 6D R E U N IO N A V 1A MO R N IN G S ID E MR 7D R E U N IO N B V 1A MO R N IN G S ID E P A 6D R E U N IO N C L 1A MO R N IN G S ID E P L 6C R E U N IO N C M 1A MO R N IN G S ID E P T 6C , 6D R E U N IO N C O 1A MO R N IN G S ID E W Y 6D R E U N IO N G D 1A MO R R IS C R 5F R E U N IO N G R 1A MO R R IS P L 5F R E U N IO N G W 1A MO R R IS R D 5F R E U N IO N H L 1A
LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E
No se C
B A YS ID E R I 5B 2A , 2B , 2C , 2D , 3D B A YW A TE R A V 5A 2C , 3C B A YW A TE R B V 4B , 5B 2C , 2D , 3D B A YW A TE R C A 5B 1A - 7A B A YW A TE R C O 4B 2D , 3D B A YW A TE R C R 5A 2C B A YW A TE R D R 5A 2C B A YW A TE R G D 4A 2C B A YW A TE R P A 5B 1B - 7B B A YW A TE R R D 4B B A YW A TE R R I 5A A B A YW A TE R S T 4B , 5B A C A C IA C R 3D B A YW A TE R V W 5A A C A C IA D R 3D B A YW A TE R W Y 5A A LB E R T S T 2D , 3D B IG H ILL C I 4E A LD E R C R 3D B IG H ILL G A 4E A LLE N S T 2D , 3D , 4D B IG H ILL P L (100 - 200) 4E A LP IN E C R 3D B IG H ILL R D 4E ARBOR CR 3D B IG H ILL W Y 4E ASHW OOD GR 3D B IG S P R IN G S C O (200 - 300) 4E ASHW OOD RD 3D B IG S P R IN G S C R 5E ASPEN CR 3D B IG S P R IN G S D R 4E , 5E A S TE R P L 3D B IG S P R IN G S G R 4E B IG S P R IN G S H L 4E B B IG S P R IN G S ME 5E B A YS ID E A V 5B B IG S P R IN G S R I 5E B A YS ID E B V 3B , 4B B IG S P R IN G S W Y 4E , 5E B A YS ID E C I 5B BOW ERS ST 2D , 3D B A YS ID E D R 5B C B A YS ID E G A 5B B A YS ID E LD (100 - 200) 5B C A N A LS B V 3C B A YS ID E LI 5B C A N A LS C I 3B B A YS ID E P A 5B C A N A LS C V 3B B A YS ID E P L (100 - 400) 5B C A N A LS D R 3B B A YS ID E P T 5B C A N A LS LI 3B B A YS ID E R D 5B CANOE AV 3B
PRAIRIE SPRINGS HL
PR SP AI RIE RI N GS PA
This map may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means without written permission of the City of Airdrie. The City of Airdrie provides this information in good faith, but it provides no warranty, nor accepts any liability arising from any incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or its improper use.
PR SP AIRIE CL RING S
Airdrie City Limits
Dog Off-Leash Area
E AV DH WIN L GE C ID GA DR IN W
PRAIRIE SPRINGS GA
IE AIR PR INGS SPR R G
SAGEW OOD BV 3A SAGEW OOD CR 3A SAGEW OOD CV 3A SAGEW OOD DR 3A SAGEW OOD GA 3A SAGEW OOD GD 3A SAGEW OOD GV 3A SAGEW OOD HT 3A S A G E W O O D LD 3A S A G E W O O D LI 3A S A G E W O O D MR 3A SAGEW OOD PA 3A SAGEW OOD PL 3A SAGEW OOD PT 3A SAGEW OOD RI 3A SAGEW OOD W Y 3A S A N D S TO N E C R 4D , 5D S H A R P H ILL W Y 7E S IE R R A S P R IN G S D R5D , 6D S ILV E R C R E E K B V 1C
1A 1A 1A 1A 1A 7C 1C , 1D 1E 1D , 1E 7D 4C 4C 3C 4C
LA N DWY
KINGS HEIGHTS RD
HE IG H
K IN G SLA N D RD
KIN LI GS TO N
KINGS HEIGHTS GA
YA N K E E V A LLE Y B V
5A - 5F
2C 2C 2B , 2B , 6B 6B 6B 6B , 6B , 2A 2A , 2A , 2B 2A 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2A 2B 2B 2B 2B
AV: AVENUE BA: BAY B V : B O U LE V A R D CA: CAPE C I: C IR C LE C L: C LO S E C M: C O MMO N CO: COURT CR: CRESCENT CV: COVE D R : D R IV E G A : G A TE GD: GARDEN GR: GREEN GV: GROVE G W : G A TE W A Y H L: H ILL H T: H E IG H TS LD : LA N D IN G LI: LIN K LN : LA N E ME : ME W S MR : MA N O R PA: PARK P L: P LA C E P T: P O IN T RD: ROAD R I: R IS E R P : R A MP SQ: SQUARE S T: S TR E E T TR : TR A IL V W : V IE W W Y: W A Y
NS VE D RA OO W VW
RAV ENSCROFT AV
Calgary International Airport
W ILLO W B R O O K C R W ILLO W B R O O K D R W ILLO W B R O O K G A W ILLO W B R O O K R D W IN D H A V E N C L W IN D H A V E N G A W IN D R ID G E G A W IN D S O N G B V W IN D S O N G D R W O O D S ID E B A W O O D S ID E B V W O O D S ID E C I W O O D S ID E C L W O O D S ID E C O W O O D S ID E C R W O O D S ID E D R W O O D S ID E G A W O O D S ID E LI W O O D S ID E LN W O O D S ID E ME W O O D S ID E P A W O O D S ID E P L (100) W O O D S ID E R D W O O D S ID E R I W O O D S ID E W Y
O RAVEN SC R
RAVENS L E A
S DR I GHT HE
S ILV E R C R E E K D R 1C S U N R ID G E P L 2C S ILV E R S P R IN G S W Y 1B , 1C S YLV A N P L 4D , 5D S MITH S T 2D , 3D T S O U TH C R E E K P L 5D S P R IN G D A LE C I 4E TA N N E R C L 3F, 4F S P R IN G D A LE C O 4E TA N N E R D R 4E , 4F S P R IN G D A LE G A 4E TA YLO R W Y 4E S P R IN G G R O V E C R 5E TH O R B U R N D R 4E , 4F S P R IN G H A V E N C L 5E TH O R N B IR D R D 4F S P R IN G H A V E N C O (100 - 900) 4E , 5E TH O R N B IR D R I 4F S P R IN G H A V E N C R 5E TH O R N B IR D W Y 4F S P R IN G H A V E N ME (100) 5E TH O R N D A LE C L 4F S P R IN G H A V E N R D 4D , 4E , 5D , 5E TH O R N FIE LD C L 3F, 4F S P R IN G S C O (100) 4E , 5E TH O R N FIE LD P L 4F S P R IN G S C R 5E TH O R N LE IG H C L 4F S P R IN G S P L (100 - 300) 5E TH O R N LE IG H W Y 4F S P R IN G W O O D C R 4D , 5D TILLE R P L 4F SPRUCEGROVE CR 5D TIP P IN G C L 4E , 4F SPRUCEGROVE GA 5D TO W E R LA N E D R 3C SPRUCEGROVE W Y 5D TU C K E R R D 4E , 4F S TO N E G A TE C L 1C V S TO N E G A TE C R 1C S TO N E G A TE D R 1C V E TE R A N S B V 2A - 2F S TO N E G A TE P L (100 - 200) 1C V IR G IN IA S T 2D , 3D S TO N E G A TE R D 1C W S TO N E G A TE R I 1C S TO N E G A TE W Y 1C W A TE R S TO N E C R 5D S U MME R FIE LD B V 4D , 5D W A TE R S TO N E G A 5D S U MME R FIE LD C L 5D W A TE R S TO N E P L (100 - 300) 5D S U MME R FIE LD R D 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N B V 1B S U MME R W O O D P L (100 - 500) 4D , 5C , 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N C L 1B S U MME R W O O D R D 5C , 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N G R 1B SUNDANCE PL 4D W ILLIA MS TO W N LD 1B S U N N YS ID E P L 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N LI 1B S U N R ID G E C L 2C W ILLO W B R O O K B A 2C S U N R ID G E C R 2C W ILLO W B R O O K C L (100 - 400) 2C
SHARP HILL WY
WY IEW SV
R E U N IO N H T R E U N IO N ME R E U N IO N R D R E U N IO N R I R E U N IO N S T R E YN O LD S G A R G E R D 10 R G E R D 292 R G E R D 293 R G E R D 294 R ID E A U C L R ID G E B R O O K D R R ID G E G A TE W Y R U N D LE P L
S VIEW RD
Kingsview Industrial Park
K IN G
KI N G S
N um bered Streets
Nose Creek Valley Museum
Bert Church Live Theatre
Chinook Winds Park
COOPERS MR COOPERS GV
PRAI RIE SPRINGS
SIERRA SPRINGS DR
SV I IN G
PRAIRIE SPRING S
SO W IN D
PR SP AIR RIN IE GS
PRAIRIE SPRINGS CV
R BA S
PRAIRIE SPRINGS GV
WINDWINDHAVEN STONE GA LI
MORNINGSIDE CR REYNOLDS GA
CL D LA N GS KIN
CHINOOK WIN DS P L
KINGSLAND VW KIN G S
HT AN D GS L
AN D PL K IN
DE INGSI MORN WY
IN 270 km
MA KINGSVIEW BV
COOPERS CI CO RA VE NS W CRO Y F
ERS DE INGSI MORN GA
Community | Column
CityLIFE By Carl Patzel
sporting bond I
’m now facing a dilemma most men reach after hitting their mid-life stride. No I’m not craving a sports car, though I wouldn’t turn down an Audi if someone drove it my way, and I’m perfectly happy in my relationship with my much-significant other. What’s sticking in the bottom of my golf shoe is that my six-foot-four, 19-year-old son is driving the golf ball about 50 yards past me these days. Not that I’m a beginner. I can pound it out there around 290-310 yards on a good day, with the wind at my back, maybe a bit of downhill fairway roll and of course if my back doesn’t feel tighter than Captain Kirk’s girdle. Excuses aside, I knew this day would come as my son Zach’s driving talent emerged faster than an all-in with pocket aces. It all began the day I put a plastic driver in his hand at the tender age of two. His first, almost perfect, swing looked more like a limber noodle John Daily than an unbalanced, awkward adolescent swipe at the ball you see from adult amateurs. His natural abilities had plenty of people drooling, especially those taking up the game late in life and knowing the frustration of worm-burning, 20-yard rolling shots. Later in life he prompted golfers to call back to the club house complaining that someone was driving balls over the 80-foot fence at the end of the 300-yard driving range. The straw that eventually broke his father’s aging back was the day this towering teenager drove a 364-yard par four, putting the ball just feet from the cup and scoring an eagle. His comforting words to me, “Hey Dad, it’s not a competition,” were said with a smirk. 62 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
But, my ego aside, I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time we’ve shared playing sports together. Besides the humbling aspect, what participating in sports can achieve cannot be measured on a golf course, soccer pitch, tennis court or in any other sporting arena. Physical activity has plenty to offer, both young and old. There’s exercise of course, a feeling of self-worth through accomplishment, attaining competitive and physical goals, and probably the most valuable, a vehicle to help build life-long relationships. Growing up, most of my friends were found on the basketball court, football field, tennis court and anywhere else I could bounce a ball. When my son came along it didn’t take but a few years to get him involved and opened another world of physical activities for myself. Early on it was coaching baseball and soccer. Practising patience and curing boredom and distraction in a five-year old (keeping the youngsters focused on the ball and not the growing grass in centre field) was just as important as teaching a sport-specific skill set. In T-ball an inning can last an hour, and on the soccer pitch I found myself hand-in-hand with a young four-yearold girl, helping her chase that bouncing ball across the field. Even 14 years later I still got a greeting and a how are you from both the young ball-chaser and her parents. The three-month long season seemed to have had a lasting impression on both coach and player. Even during the long process of obtaining black belts in Tae Kwon Do, we befriended another father-son team sharing both pain and pleasure while achieving our goals. Friendship and camaraderie topping the list. So whether I’m getting a tennis ball drilled at my head, or watching my son once again gorilla another golf ball far past mine, I can still smile over the fact that sports have helped score many lasting relationships. Well, that and the fact that I still have a better short LIFE game than the kid.
COMMUNITY | rural roots
calM, cool, anD collecteD.
Peter Wenkoff loves the wide open spaces above and below
That’s one way of describing bison, a noble game animal that once dominated the prairies. It’s also a good way to describe 63-yearold Airdrionian Peter Wenkoff, who when he isn’t raising bison on a ranch near Sundre, is off fighting forest fires in places like northern Saskatchewan and Greece. Born into a cattle-ranching family near Major, Sask., Wenkoff has been raising bison since the mid-1990s, but is getting ready to move into a full commercial operation. “Look at that – there’s only a few trees and they’ve decided to hang around here,” Wenkoff says while giving a tour of his property. Sure enough, a herd of buffalo have gathered around a few of the only trees on the 160-acre property. “We had [the trees] fenced, but they demolished the fence and this is their favourite hangout.” Wenkoff slowly circles his pickup around the herd, hoping to encourage them to move to another area. “I don’t know – I haven’t counted the spring calves yet, because I wasn’t here during calving time,” Wenkoff replies when asked how big his herd is. He guesses about 55 head, with some having been purchased at auction from places like Battleford and Alder Flats, and others having been left to their own devices. “Folks told me it was like a maternity ward [last spring], and I was out waterbombing,” Wenkoff laughs. As one of the lead buffalo finally gets the hint and the other cows and bulls begin to follow him across the field, Wenkoff describes what interested him in raising bison for meat.
Shufﬂe off to buffalo When he’s not in Airdrie, Peter Wenkoff is visiting his bison fields STORY BY ALEx FRAzER-HARRISON | PHOTOS BY CARL PATzEL Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 63
COMMUNITY | rural roots
“The first idea was mostly a health reason,” he says. “I was flying and I wanted to [eat] leaner meat so I could keep my medical up to keep flying. I started going to some auctions and I found them an interesting animal.” Buffalo meat, Wenkoff says, is so lean you’d have to eat 18 buffalomeat burgers before you equalled the amount of fat in one standard fast-food beef burger.
Wenkoff’s bison at the ranch
There is growing demand for this meat in restaurants, but there has often been a quality issue due to the animals being stressed out when relocated to slaughter facilities. Wenkoff is hoping current moves towards establishing a mobile abattoir – which would allow on-site slaughter, reducing stress in the animals – will result in higher-quality meat. “The big thing is so we can get consistent quality … but I can’t produce it for them until you get things like a government-inspected mobile abattoir,” Wenkoff says.“We think it’s coming [soon].” Wenkoff drives his pickup around the end of a 2,500-foot-long 64 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
grassy strip. This is a landing strip that Wenkoff uses for commuting by plane between the property and his home in Airdrie, as well as for visitors and customers who want to check out the ranch, dubbed Highland Bison Air Park. “I live in Airdrie and I fly to the bison ranch whenever I get the chance,” says Wenkoff. Although Wenkoff sells meat products online, he wants to open a place where he can sell direct to consumers, but first he needs to get the proper approvals. “There’s so much needed for the proper authorization for the buildings, and we have to find out all the details that are involved with meat,” he says.“I’m in aviation and it’s loaded with regulations … in the meat business it’s the same thing because there’s always so many different bacterias and diseases. “We’re trying to get all the permissions in place and what we have to do is pioneer some of the regulations ourselves.” The bison industry was hit hard by the BSE crisis, with Wenkoff estimating “50 per cent of the bison population in Canada has been destroyed in the last 10 years.” And due to incompatible inspection facilities, while meat could be shipped to the U.S., it couldn’t be shipped between provinces. “We were operating like 10 countries,” Wenkoff says. Wenkoff started his flying career as a crop-sprayer before semi-retiring from that line about 20 years ago and getting into waterbombing for the Saskatchewan government. He spends much of the year crossing Canada to help put out forest fires, and even once got called into service near Athens, Greece. “We had fun flying around the Parthenon and dipping [for water] into the Aegean,” he laughs. It’s a long way from sunny Greece to the snowy western-Alberta prairie. Wenkoff stops the truck to check if a creek running through the property has frozen over. Fortunately, Wenkoff has been able to indulge in both passions. As his bison are described as “free-range, grass-fed” they are generally lowmaintenance. Unlike cattle, for example, they don’t need supervision during calving season. And while Wenkoff has built a corral, he rarely uses it. “If we didn’t have to tag them we’d never have to touch them,” he says. Although he could relocate here full-time if he wanted, Wenkoff is happy to stay in Airdrie and support local business – a goal is to supply local butcher shops and restaurants. “The main thing is I want to respect the owners of butcher shops already in business,” he says.“There’s no way I’d intend to ever compete with them and I don’t want to, because they’re doing a good job.” As the tour ends, the question arises whether Wenkoff foresees a time when raising buffalo becomes his full-time work and waterbombing becomes the hobby. “Maybe they’ll just turn me out to pasture – and hopefully it’ll be LIFE a buffalo pasture!” MOrE LIFE OnLInE SEE MORE PICTURES FROM WENKOFF’S FARM AND FIND
GREAT RECIPES FOR BISON DISHES AT AIRDRIELIFE.COM
Genesis Land Developers & Builders Group
family and lifestyle first in the â€œcanal blessedâ€? Bayside community on the west side of Airdrie.
With premium home sites backing directly
onto the canals, and water access for all, bike/walking paths and vast green space create a truely unique community right in the City of Airdrie.
A Birds-eye view of the
Canals in Airdrie
Designed to collect and distribute naturally occuring ground waters, and provide storm-surge protection, the Canals at Bayside eventually flow into Nose Creek where the waters are naturally disbursed. An added benefit of the canals is the ability to control flow rates thus minimizing erosion to the delicate environs downstream. Interspersed with water falls and other water features the canals are in constant motion ensuring they do not become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the like, but still remain a friendly environment for migratory birds and other visiting critters.
6kms of Canals feeding a 5 acre lake system, bordered by miles of biking/walking pathways.
Imagine, enjoying your morning cup of coffee while strolling along the quiet waters edge, removed from the hustle and bustle of typical city morning life. No worries. Thereâ€™s plenty of time to get to work. Calgary is only 15 minutes away, the schools are just down the street, and if there is any shopping to do, its only a few blocks away. Genesis Builders Group (GBG), has refined its collection of successful homeplans to take advantage of living in a water focused community such as Bayside. Walkout plans, a wide assortment of
and architectural controls that add to the whole Bayside experience confirm that this community was well thought through and executed from the very beginning.
more phases opening, a new sales centre under construction, and a positive buyers market, now is the time to visit Bayside, and take advantage of this unique community opportunity.
102 Baywater Way
Big Hill Springs Rd.
Bayside Sales Centre
A community is only as strong as the health and well being of the people who live there. Welcome to GENESIS Place. This world class facility features swimming pools, arenas, gyms, dance studios, weight rooms, an indoor running track and all the amenities you would expect in a first class centre.
GENESIS has backed up its words with action in a big way with GENESIS Place. And now, with Phase ll open, thereâ€™s even more reason for you take a tour of this amazing place. Drop by our Bayside Showhome and get your complimentary drop-in pass to GENESIS Place, while supplies last. Our gift to you.
Bayside Showhome, Airdrie
HOMES Table Treats | 74
Home Movies | 78
Warm Places | 84 Wiinter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE
Homes | Real Estate
Good News story by Alex Frazer-Harrison
for buyers AND sellers “Stoney Trail is almost the second stage of Airdrie’s ‘coming out’”
hile it wasn’t totally immune to the turmoil facing real estate markets in 2009, Airdrie seems to have weathered the storm quite well, says a local realtor and the Airdrie-based president of the Calgary Real Estate Board. “I think the story of 2009 is that Airdrie experienced a very soft landing compared to other real estate markets,” says Alan Tennant of Re/Max Rocky View. “Certainly values dropped from their peak as we’d expect and flattened out midway through the year.” Among the reasons why Airdrie wasn’t hit as bad as other places was its strong local employment scene, says CREB head Bonnie Wegerich of Century 21 Castlewood Agencies. “Our unemployment rate didn’t rise drastically,” she says. “And affordability played a huge factor in the [Airdrie] real estate market, though to be fair Calgary became more affordable this year, too.” For example, Wegerich says, a two-storey (plus bonus room) house in the 1,800-2,200 square foot range that cost $400,000 last year might now go for $350,000. “That works well for first-time buyers,” she says. Tennant also credits low interest rates with continuing to keep demand high in the local market, adding he expects 2009 “will go in the record books as a transition year … and 2010 will be a continuation of those volumes and pricing levels.” Wegerich says infrastructure and commercial development in and around Airdrie 72 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
has also kept excitement high, in particular the CrossIron Mills megamall development. “CrossIron Mills has helped us; I think it’s very significant,” she says. “It being located so close to Airdrie, it has been good for the [local] housing industry.” Both Tennant and Wegerich agree the now-completed northwest and northeast legs of Calgary’s Stoney Trail bypass have the potential to open up Airdrie to even more real estate interest. Tennant says Airdrie enjoys a dream location with its close proximity to the QEII Highway, Stoney Trail and ongoing development around Balzac and the Calgary International Airport that adds up to “a winning combination for Airdrie going forward. “Stoney Trail is almost the second stage of Airdrie’s‘coming out,’” he says.“The first was the massive growth around the [Calgary] airport. I think Stoney Trail and the wonderful location Airdrie has next to it – but not right on top of it – will be an amazing ongoing resource.” Wegerich adds efforts to improve transportation infrastructure within Airdrie itself – most notably the reconstruction of the Yankee Valley/Highway 2 interchange, the widening of Yankee Valley Boulevard and improvements to Veterans Boulevard – will also go a long way toward making the city even more attractive to home buyers. Meanwhile, development of Airdrie’s new communities continues, with neighbourhoods such as King’s Heights, Ravenswood, Reunion, Williamstown and Matamy show-
ing ongoing interest. Wegerich says more-mature neighbourhoods such as Airdrie Meadows have also seen interest. “It depends on the affordability factor, and if you want that mature lot,” she says. “I think we will continue to see growth in Airdrie for the foreseeable future. But I think the nice thing is we are having a more moderate growth, not insane. That is good for both buyers and sellers.” Wegerich adds that whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market really depends upon the neighbourhood, and the price range the buyer is considering. “I consider it to be a balanced market,” she says. Helping that market is the fact Airdrie developers continue to offer housing for every type of buyer, says Tennant. “I guess the new developers get credit for being creative and finding new markets to service,” he says. “It’s not like we have miles of the LIFE same old, same old.”
Community Profiles Online
Where do you want to live in Airdrie? Want to know the average sales price of single-family homes and condos? Go online to airdrielife.com and explore Airdrie neighbourhood by neighbourhood and get the insider’s view before you start your house hunting. With updated MLS stats and links to new developments your LIFE in Airdrie begins right here.
Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the show! Theatre style seating in the comfort of your own home
23 East Lake Hill N.E., Airdrie Phone 403.701.2900 Next to the Airdrie Recycling Depot. Monday - Saturday 9am - 5pm
NEED DIRECTIONS? JUST FOLLOW THE RED BALLOONS!
Midnight-blue pottery holds
steaming cups of cocoa and your killer chilli recipe Frog Hollow
Missing the ambient sound of a crackling fire? Wooden wicks make these warm-hued candles crackle just like a fire without the mess Frog Hollow
Spice up your kitchen with red utensils, cookware and appliances from Superstore and Wal-Mart. But first start the day with a real kicker â€“ a red-hot Keurig one-serve coffee and tea maker will wake you up before the caffeine does The Store Upstairs 74 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Miss the green, green grass of summer? How about some green, green glass instead? Home accessories from Muk Luks and Magpies will brighten your gloomy winter
your world From voltives to vases, nothing beats the winter blahs like when you turn up the volume on colour inside your home. Here are some colourful suggestions from around the city Bring the warmth of an azure sea and sandy beach home without a passport. These vases add the right feel to any room Frog Hollow
Community… connection & caring. Seniors programs, violence prevention, respite service – supporting those who need it most.
403.945.3900 • nrvcl.ab.ca Counselling • Family Resources Outreach • Community Development
Generously sponsored by Vitreous Glass.
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We have lots of those. 3 million, in fact. We also have programs and resources for everyone—from Pre-School Literacy programs to Senior’s Computer Classes. Pop into your Library to find out more, or visit www.airdriepubliclibrary.ca.
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Relevant. Responsive. Renewed. 111, 304 Main Street 403.948.0600 airdriepubliclibrary.ca
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Get experienced real estate lawyers Horne Wytrychowski, Barristers and Solicitors 403-912-3565
Horne Wytrychowski Barristers & Solicitors Ph: 403-912-3565 • Fax: 403-912-3570
Todd Wytrychowski & Richard Horne 8, 620 - 1st Ave. N.W. • Airdrie, AB T4B 2R3 www.airdrielawyers.com
Your Airdrie Specialists!
Homes | Media
The ultimate in home theatre comfort from Airdrie Home Furnishings story by Stacey Carefoot
Putting the into Home Theatres M
ixing your high-end gear with a personal touch can lead to a cozy home theatre that might leave you wondering if your friends are ever going to leave. Sure, you might have all the techno gear, the Blu-ray and HD, gadgets and gizmos but none of that high-tech audio video equipment in your home is worth a hill of beans unless 78 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
you have a cozy place to watch you favourite flick. The home theatre concept is becoming less of a luxury and more of a standard fixture in today’s homes. Numerous elements combine to create the ultimate movie-watching environment. Before you begin decorating you first must choose a room that could help bring
the fascinating experience of a movie theatre into the comfort and convenience of your own home. “I don’t think there is a minimum size of room necessary to create a home theatre, but the size of your room should dictate what you put in it. Think about who and how the space will be used most often. If you are a family of four or if you are a couple of empty nesters,
plan your seating needs accordingly,” says Leah Buss, interior décor consultant and owner of Basic Elements. Lighting
More often than not we strive to allow natural light to enter all the rooms in our home; however, the opposite is true when it comes to home theatres. By blocking all natural lighting from the theatre room you will eliminate glare and increase screen intensity. Room lighting should include – at a minimum – dimmer switches. “Your room should include ambient or accent lighting sources, such as pot lights or sconces, to prevent possible eye strain while you’re enjoying your home theatre. Dimmer switches are great features to control the amount of light in the space,” says Buss. Flooring
The best solution for home theatre flooring is definitely carpeting. Carpet provides the best acoustic environment. Should your room not have carpet, area rugs are a great option. Walls
Again to reduce glare and reflection the darker the home theatre walls the better. If red crushed velvet curtains aren’t in your budget you can always paint the walls in a darker hue with a matte or eggshell finish. “Walls should be flat neutral colours in the grey and brown family to prevent glare or unwanted tints from being cast onto the screen,” says Buss.
tion actuators which pick up on bass frequencies and create an interactive shaking or moving sensation. “When considering the surface selections for your home theatre think dark and cozy,” adds Buss, who reminds us to ensure we have enough seating for the whole family and then some. Is bigger really better?
“One of the most common mistakes clients make is to buy a television that is just too big for their space. This oversight can complicate furniture arrangements and frustrate their decorating efforts,” says Buss. Avoid this mistake by measuring your space. The optimal size of your TV is determined by the space available in your view area. Buss add that viewing is affected not only by the size of your TV, but also how far away you sit. “To find out how far away you should be sitting from the TV screen, you just need to do a little math,” she adds. For widescreen TVs, multiply the diagonal width by 2.5 for your optimal viewing distance in inches. If for example you bought a 42” TV, you should be sitting around 105” or 8’9” away, give or take a few inches for personal preference. If your TV is sized to correctly fit your space, you will be able to balance its proportions with the other furnishings in the room to generate an overall sense of harmony. LIFE
One of the most appealing reasons to install a theatre room inside your home is because of the comfort factor. The sky is definitely the limit when it comes to home theatre seating. Typically upholstered in leather, home theatre seats are stylish and come complete with a plethora of nifty options including cup holders and touch-control screens. For the hard-core home theatre junkies, souped-up home theatre seating can also be found fitted with tactile transducers and moWinter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 79
Homes | Builder Profile
See Doug Build Story by Anne Beaty | photo by Kristy Reimer
Douglas Homes is one of Airdrie’s most profilic and trusted builders
Doug Musak stands tall in the homes that bear his name
We’re big enough to have systems
in place, but small enough to
be personal 80 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
ouglas Homes owner and president Doug Musak brings a wealth of expertise to his company. One of the most highly trained people in the industry, Musak holds a BSc in engineering, a civil engineering diploma and a journeyman carpentry ticket, in addition to being a master builder. He has also worked in commercial construction, adding even more depth to his all-around understanding of the home-building industry. With all that experience at hand, Douglas Homes, which Musak founded in 1989, is well-prepared to respond to what homebuyers want and need. By working closely with each client, Douglas Homes can create just what the customer ordered. “We’re not a custom home builder, but we can tailor homes. We’re big enough to have systems in place, but small enough to be personal,” Musak says. “I definitely want to meet every one of my customers and get feedback from them.” That feedback is what helps the company evolve and respond to changing trends. “We’ve made some significant changes in energy-efficiency homes,” Musak says, adding that the homebuilding industry has met and exceeded Kyoto criteria for years. ‘Building green’ includes more than just the home itself. It incorporates efficient water and construction waste management, as well as air quality issues. On the corporate side, Douglas Homes has even purchased a smaller, more fuel-efficient truck. “Little things like that make a big difference, I feel,” Musak says. When it comes to design, Douglas Homes – which has been building in Airdrie in Woodside, the Canals, Bayside, Luxstone and now the new Williamsburg neigh-
bourhood – is providing a wide variety of new concepts. With evolving technology and people working from home more often, customers are asking for work space in their homes. The space doesn’t have to be large, Musak says, and what he calls “pocket dens” are popular when there isn’t the room or the budget for a full-sized den. Other popular features include an upper floor laundry area and high-quality finishes, such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. Higher ceilings are also on the list of customer requests. “We’re seeing … a lot of demand for nine-foot main floors,” Musak says, adding that with the trend toward more basement development to incorporate dens, exercise rooms and bedrooms, customers are also requesting nine-foot basement ceilings. Open floor plans are still much in demand, but the necessity of load-bearing interior walls in two-storey homes can make this challenging. As a result, Douglas Homes has incorporated an open-riser staircase to the second floor. “It really tends to make the house feel bigger,” Musak says. As well, the home’s exterior is becoming increasingly important, with details – such as darker exterior siding and hardboard on the front – playing a pivotal role “We’re going back more to the country cottage look,” Musak says. With all his company’s new designs and plans, Musak is optimistic about what he has to offer the homebuying public. And even the recent economic downturn has had its bright side. “The nice thing about a recession is that … the builders have more time to be LIFE creative,” he says.
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Homes | Renovations
CounterACT your Outdated Kitchen story by Stacey Carefoot
Believe it or not, the first thing visitors notice when they enter your kitchen isnâ€™t the fingerprints on the fridge or the dirty dishes in the sink; itâ€™s actually your countertop.
82 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
any homes are dated, or should we say outdated, by their countertops. By replacing this surface you just might be able to give your kitchen, or even your entire home, a much-deserved facelift. As with every home renovation project, figuring out where to start is the first and often biggest hurdle. One of the best places to begin your journey into the world of countertops is at your pocketbook. By deciding on a budget you will automatically eliminate materials that are out of reach and be able to focus on the varieties that best suit what you are willing to pay. Ceramic tile is found at the low end of the market and can come at a price as low as $11 per square foot. High-end granite and glass products are found at the top of the market and can carry price tags as high as $250 per square foot. Somewhere in between there is a menagerie of choices, products and materials guaranteeing that there is definitely something for everyone.
With the help of local design expert Linda Cummins, a certified interior decorator, we take a look at the options, their pros and cons and help you settle on the perfect countertop. Tile
$11-50 Durable and easy to clean with an endless selection. Cons: Possibility of chipping and cracking. Grout lines could become discoloured. Price range per square foot: Pros:
$30-40 Endless number of colours and finishes. Cons: Some laminates have been known to scratch and they are not necessarily heat resistant. Designerâ€™s notes: When choosing a laminate ensure you consider all finish options. Some colours are available in more than one finish and choosing a finish that suits your application is very important. The shinier the finish the more fingerprints and scratches will show. Price range per square foot: Pros:
$40-60 prOs: Designed so scratches can be sanded out. Wilsonart currently has a product in this category that holds a 10-year warranty. COns: Can be more vulnerable to hot pans and staining. prICE rAngE pEr sQuArE FOOt:
$60-100 prOs: Provides a warm look. COns: Can be damaged by water and stained. Needs to be maintained to keep germs and odours away. DEsIgnEr’s nOtEs: Wood surfaces can be covered with glass to cut down on maintenance. prICE rAngE pEr sQuArE FOOt:
$100-250 prOs: Because it is an igneous rock, more colours are available. It’s very hardy and heat resistant. COns: Requires some maintenance to ensure a solid seal. prICE pEr sQuArE FOOt:
Other less conventional products on the market include slate, soapstone, marble, glass, engineered stone, concrete and stainless steel. “A hot, hot new product right now is recycled glass,” says Cummins. This new trend doesn’t come at a low price. “A raised bar can cost as much as $6,000,” admits Cummins, who urges those who aren’t under any budgetary constraints to look towards Vetrazzo, G-Roc, icestone and enviroglass for state-of-the-art, flashy countertop solutions. Cummins recommends that consumers consider their lifestyle as well as the look they are trying to achieve when choosing new countertops.“Keep things in scale and relation to each other. If you lack light, lean toward reflective products that will help maintain light or more blended tones. More patterns and colourful choices can be included in larger spaces,” says Cummins. When it comes to choosing a colour Cummins cautions us to think neutral and rely as much as possible on earth tones. “That way when you change your style, and you will, you’re not feeling guilty for spending tons of cash on that new red quartz kitchen.” Choosing a colour that will stand the test of time will help ensure LIFE that your countertops do, too.
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Homes | Fireplaces
Home Fires Burning story by Stacey Carefoot
Fireplaces are more than good looking 84 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
or countless generations the heat of fire has been warming our homes and our souls. We’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to help ensure your home fires are burning as efficiently and safely as possible. Before you reach for the thermostat dial to crank up your furnace this winter perhaps you should consider using your fireplace. Not only does it offer great ambiance, its localized heating ability can potentially offer your pocket book a much deserved break. While many Airdrie homes enjoy the crackle of a real woodburning fire, even more enjoy the convenience of a gas fireplace. In order to ensure you’re enjoying everything your fireplace has to offer there are a few things to consider. “Homeowners who have fireplaces installed should make the effort to go and see their dealer for a complete orientation,” says Rob Hotchkiss, president of Timberwolf Hearth Products Ltd., the wholesale supplier to many Airdrie home builders including McKee Homes. “We also recommend that the fireplace owner’s manual gets read; you’ll discover all kinds of great stuff in there,” Hotchkiss adds. He and others in the gas fireplace industry recommend hiring a professional to maintain your fireplace on a yearly basis. A thorough gas fireplace inspection by a licensed gas fitter should include: • inspection and cleaning of the glass for irregularities • inspection, cleaning and adjustment of pilot safety • checking and cleaning control compartment • checking venting system • checking on/off switch or thermostat • checking and cleaning blower if applicable • adjustment of the primary air shutter for proper regulation of the air feed to the flame • checking combustion chamber for any cracks “We are a very reputable industry,” says Hotchkiss, who recommends asking whatever maintenance company you choose a few simple questions before allowing them to work on your fireplace. “Ask how long they’ve been in the business and how many levels of training their service technicians have.” If you are given answers that you are comfortable with, go with them; if not, keep looking. When it comes to cleaning the glass both on the outside and inside of your gas fireplace homeowners might be tempted to do it themselves. A couple of warnings include not to clean the glass while it is hot and not to use glass cleaner as it will leave the glass cloudy and cut down on the efficiency of the fireplace. As for the rest of the fireplace maintenance, it really is best left to a professional.
starting in the low $200 range. With the only installation requirement being an electrical outlet the advantages of the electric fireplace are plentiful. They are arguably more environmentally friendly as they do not produce carbon dioxide emissions; however, they are definitely not carbon neutral as the electricity required to run these fireplaces is generated from a grid which does emit greenhouse gases. The convenience of electric fireplaces is another positive as many come with thermostats built into their remote controls and have automatic on/off features. As well, there is no clean up and no tedious maintenance. Electric fireplaces usually have two separate settings: one to control the visual of the flame and the other to control the heater, allowing for owners to experience the beautiful glow of a fire, even in the summer time. It can be argued that one of the electric fireplace’s biggest downfalls is that it is simply a glorified space heater. While electric fireplace manufacturers continue to hone in on the demands of the market, we find ourselves asking, could the electric illusion of a fire burning in your home ever be as comforting as the real thing? “That’s a tough question,” says Mike Fulton, owner of Airdrie Home Hardware.“We did get one ourselves for our own home, and we love it,” he adds. It sounds like at least in Fulton’s opinion, the answer is yes. LIFE
Installing a fireplace in your home? A few tips from the City of Airdrie A gas permit is required to install a gas fireplace in your home. “The permit can be applied for by the homeowner if they are installing it themselves or they can name the contractor who will be doing the work,” says Stephanie Martin, building inspector with The City of Airdrie. The gas permit comes at a price of $45 plus $4 for safety codes and includes the after-installation gas inspection. A minimum of one inspection is required at the rough-in stage when a permit is granted with the possibility of follow-up inspections that are left to the discretion of the inspector. A building permit is required for those homeowners looking to install a wood-burning fireplace. This permit comes at a cost of $50 plus $5 for safety codes and also includes the
What about faking it?
required inspections. Fireplace specifications as well as a
For those looking to accessorize their home and perhaps add an inexpensive focal point, an electric fireplace may be the answer. With models that replicate wood stoves to contemporary corner fireplaces complete with shelving units and custom mantels, electric fireplaces are currently flooding the market and are available with price points
floor plan showing the intended location of the fireplace are required at the time of application. More information on permitting can be found online at www.airdrie.ca
Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 85
Nose Creek Dental Centre Dr. Monty Gaur Dr. Trevor Onishenko Dr. Saleema Adatia Dr. Patricia Truong
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HOMES | showhome Parade
88 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
A charming northwest Airdrie neighbourhood celebrating family, friendship and shared traditions. A refreshing twist on traditional living where life is reminiscent of a simpler time. Come Home to Your Reunion – Everyone’s Invited! Build a new tradition for your family, with four distinct architectural styles: Arts & Crafts Collection, Classical Collection, Craftsman Collection or Prairie Collection, each one with its unique character and charm. Attached garage homes from the mid $300s and laned homes from the $270s. Reunion builders: Sabal Homes, Excel Homes and McKee Homes. vIsIt the shoWhoMe ParaDes MonDay - thursDay: 2 PM - 8 PM; WeekenDs/holIDays: noon - 5 PM
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Lives in Airdrie At Reid Built Homes, we are proud to say that we have been one of Airdrie’s dedicated community supporters for over 17 years. Building beautiful homes for your family is our passion but believing in this thriving city is what makes us different from the others. We have chosen to live in Airdrie and proudly call it our home. We have first-hand experience with Airdrie’s great location, quality education system, exceptional recreational programs, first class shopping and all the amenities a family could dream of. Please visit us at our showhome to find out why we love living in Airdrie.
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City Water Works | 93
Village Rejuvenation | 95
Cool Guy | 99 Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE
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City | Public Works
H20 story by Ellen Kelly
“Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights” -United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights, 2002
ater is one of mankind’s most precious natural gifts. It is a symbol of devotion and purity and throughout time has played a role, not only in the history and development of countries, but in religion, mythology and art. Necessary for digestion and absorption of food, maintaining muscle tone, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the cells, ridding the body of wastes and serving as a natural air conditioning system, drinking water is essential to life. Our bodies are approximately 60 per cent water (our brains 70 per cent, and our lungs nearly 90 per cent). A human can live about a month without food, but only a week without water. Although roughly 80 per cent of the earth’s surface is water, 97 per cent is either frozen or salty and only one per cent is potable or suitable for drinking. More than a quarter of the world’s population does not have a safe water supply. Water is the only substance found naturally on earth in three states of matter. As a solid (ice) it forms frost, snow, hail, glaciers and frozen lakes and rivers. In liquid form, it becomes rain and dew, swamps, lakes, rivers and oceans, and beneath the earth’s surface, groundwater. As vapour (gas) it occurs as steam, fog and clouds. In Canada, we are fortunate to have a safe and abundant water supply. We can pour a glass of water from the tap, knowing it is as unpolluted as it can possibly be. Dr. David Suzuki, renowned scientist, environmentalist and
Airdrie’s two reservoirs store roughly four million Canadian gallons Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 93
City | Public Works
broadcaster, says, “Canadians wanting to do something about the environment can start by drinking tap water…we buy it; paying more for bottled water than we do for gasoline … ” (FYI - CBC News, 01/02/07) Before 1977, water to Airdrie residents was pumped from a well in what is now the Sagewood area, through water lines that ran up 1st Avenue to the water tower which was built, along with a water and sewer system, in 1959. Water pressure was low to non-existent in summer and the old water tower was heated at the base to keep the water running in winter. By 1977, the tower was no longer in use.
to pressurize the water system for distribution throughout the city,” says Stevens.“Right now, the Nose Creek reservoir pressurizes our entire system. We’re about to go into a separate pressure zone because the northeast area is a higher elevation. The N.E. reservoir will eventually supply the Highland Park subdivision and parts of East Lake industrial park.” Our current water supply system can handle a population of 75,000 but at present the City is planning for a third water line from Calgary to be built in the next one to three years. “We don’t need the water right now, there’s plenty there,” says Stevens, “but if we
“Our average consumption is 80 gallons per capita per day” Since then, our water has come from the Bow River via Calgary’s Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant where it is treated to meet and exceed all federal and provincial healthrelated standards and guidelines. Through various pressure zones, the water serves Calgary and is also piped to Airdrie (and Chestermere). The water we receive is monitored constantly in addition to the testing done in Calgary. “We have a number of locations around the city where quality testing is done on a regular basis,” says Lorne Stevens, manager, Engineering Services and Public Works at the City of Airdrie. The City of Airdrie, through a direct agreement with the City of Calgary, receives potable water through two different water lines – a 36-inch line and a 14-inch line – that trickle-feed two reservoirs. This water supplies the city’s needs, gives us an emergency backup supply and allows for fluctuations in demand. One reservoir is adjacent to Nose Creek; the other is in the northeast, near the Costco distribution centre. These two reservoirs store roughly four million Canadian gallons.“One of the functions of the reservoirs is 94 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
lose one of the water lines for repair for an extended period, we will need it to meet demands.” Another reservoir will be added, probably in the next three to five years, in the Chinook Winds area and will meet further residential needs. Water restrictions sometimes apply to Airdrie residents and can be in response to a local concern or a supply issue in Calgary. “If Calgary is having problems, we’re obligated to help,” says Stevens.“We follow the same restrictions they do.” Effluent is pumped back to a holding facility in Calgary, then transferred to the Calgary sewage treatment plant for purification. The City of Airdrie has adopted several conservation initiatives. Currently in place is the toilet replacement program which offers a rebate to residents who replace an inefficient toilet. A toilet can waste thousands of litres of water every year and by replacing older models, consumers can decrease in-home water usage by up to 20 per cent. Water meters (and the user-pay system) were implemented in Airdrie approximately 30 years ago and have encouraged conservation. “Our average consumption is 80 gallons
per capita per day,” says Stevens, “and that’s a fairly conservative number.” For the past decade, new residential development is required to have water conservation measures such as low-flow toilets, taps and shower heads in place. This is instituted through a local by-law and outlined in building permits. The parks department has gone from timed irrigation to weather sensing stations so the sprinklers don’t come on when it’s raining. The City has also become more proactive in determining water leaks by keeping acoustic equipment in place and investigating problems. And like many other communities, Airdrie has a natural water feature that has been rerouted but well-protected during the City’s growth. Nose Creek, which originates near Carstairs and winds its way south 75 kilometres before joining the Bow River near the Calgary Zoo, runs from north to south through the west side of the city. Nose Creek once attracted European settlers and the railway due to its exceptional water quality, but over time became one of the most polluted streams in Alberta. The City is now involved in initiatives to reduce the amount of runoff that enters the creek, which was at one time considered a drainage channel. This has been done by adding more topsoil, which acts like a sponge, to runoff areas and by constructing storm water retention ponds. “When the snow melts or the skies open up,” says Stevens, “the idea is to have more of that water infiltrate in the area where it falls rather than becoming direct runoff to the creek.” The water is held in the ponds and by slowing the rate of absorption some of the sediments remain in the ponds. When the water finally reaches the creek, it is much cleaner. The storm water system is separate from the drinking water and sewer systems. In recent years, the restoration of Nose Creek has become a priority. Cleanup and stabilization of the banks as well as protection of the creek during construction helps to preserve this area which is home to waterfowl, LIFE fish and aquatic plant life.
City | Redevelopment
In the Village story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Sergei Belski
The City looks at plans to reinvigorate downtown
Jeff Green, manager, Airdrie Parks and Planning Department, for the City at the entrance to the Village
ong before anyone bought a home in Big Springs and Sagewood, and ages before the first shops began to spring up in Sierra Springs, The Village was the heart of Airdrie. That heart is still beating strong, and the City of Airdrie is watching a redevelopment plan come to life that, it hopes, will keep that heart going for years to come. Passed in 2006, the Village Area Redevelopment Plan calls for numerous initiatives to keep the community – centred around Plainsman Arena, Airdrie Middle School and several blocks on either side of Centre Avenue and 1st Avenue N., east of Main Street – a vital part of the city. One of the ideas supported by the plan, the conversion of some older homes on the periphery of the Village into businesses, is illustrated by the recent zoning approval of a small tapas restaurant, Rico’s in the Village, which is slated to occupy a 105-year-old former minister’s residence next door to Airdrie United Church on 1st Avenue. “Reinvigoration is the right word,” rather than redevelopment, says Mayor Linda Bruce. “It started a few years back when there was this one house that came up for a zoning change. We hadn’t taken a look at the Village for a while in terms of a ‘what’s next?’ sort of thing. So council asked Planning to look at the entire area … see what the future is.” Every community goes through redevelopment planning eventually, says Bruce. “The Village has some of our oldest buildings, and [had] some of our bigger population increases over time in the 1960s and ’70s,” she says. “Now we’re talking 30-40 years later.” When you look at the Village, you see what Airdrie was like up to the mid-1970s, says City of Airdrie Economic Development team leader Kent Rupert. Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 95
City | Redevelopment
“Reinvigoration is the right word,” rather than redevelopment, says Mayor Linda Bruce “We had a number of businesses that wanted to set up in the centre of the Village in some of the heritage homes … and there was some concern about those types of businesses being located [there],” Rupert says. The area redevelopment plan, he says, is intended to find the balance between revitalizing an area that “was starting to look a bit weathered,” and maintaining the integrity of a community that impacts the rest of the city. Community response and, at times, opposition is something that comes with the territory whenever a city looks to reinvigorate a neighbourhood. And when the City approved the rezoning that will allow for Rico’s in the Village to open next door to Airdrie United Church, some residents voiced their disapproval and concern that their neighbourhood might change a bit too much. “It’s the spot-zoning the City of Airdrie has started to do that concerns us,” says area resident Linda Lundeen. “Many of us have lived in our homes for 30-40 years-plus, and our children are second and third generation. When [the City] originally made up the plan for the conservation district, it was to keep the area with older-style-looking homes; it’s a style you can’t even build now.” Lundeen says among the concerns is the idea of businesses moving in next to private homes, and the potential impact on the character of the community, as well as issues such as parking and traffic, and the potential for noise. “To try and say Airdrie should have a Kensington is a little ludicrous; maybe 20 years down the road,” she says, referencing the busy mixed-use area in inner-city Calgary. “For a few people, change is a scary thing,” says Rico Pacheco, who with his wife, Loy, has been working on getting the restaurant open. (See story on page 43.)“They aren’t seeing whether change might be good.” Loy says the restaurant won’t be aimed at the type of clientele that would make noise or cause trouble, but more a professional, mature customer looking for a big-city dining experience in Airdrie without having to drive to Calgary (or, as of next summer, the planned entertainment wing of the CrossIron Mills megamall at Balzac). Lundeen says she has nothing against the Pachecos and their dream, but has concerns over the process the City is following in approving some of the rezoning and in the communication between City Hall and area residents. Lundeen says the Airdrie Village Community Association has been formed to give concerned residents a louder voice. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the Village or anyplace, when there’s change there’s often fear … but you can’t often see what the future will be, and that’s where the Plan does help,” says Bruce. “Sometimes you ask, is there a better way to provide an understanding of inten96 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
tions, because a lot of people … have a sense of what over time that change might look like. It might be incumbent upon me or a developer to paint a better picture.” The Village Area Redevelopment Plan covers more than just business use. It also maps out potential improvements to parks and roadways, and indicates that single-family dwellings will remain the dominant development type in the area. In this way, it has a similar focus as that of some of Calgary’s redeveloped communities such as Marda Loop – an area that also melds commercial and residential uses. “In a community situation it’s hard to find a win-win from both the local and business perspective,” says Renee Clydesdale, office manager with the Marda Loop Business Revitalization Zone. “It’s a constant fight working with city planners to make sure what we’re doing is increased density, but everything remains high quality,” she says, adding one of the biggest problems her area faces is parking. “There’s no easy fix because of the [limited] amount of land left to develop. Ideas are bouncing around [like] restricting parking during business hours … and negotiating with those who have parking about allowing visitors to park there. “We’re also looking at doing something with public transit and that might be something for the Airdrie people to look at … a more regional transit system that may relieve some of the traffic.” Clydesdale says a big piece of advice she has for the City as it progresses with the Village plan, and others, is to keep the lines of communication open between the stakeholders.“You know residents won’t win completely and businesses won’t win completely … you have to find a happy medium,” she says. Rupert says Rico’s will be the first business to open under the redevelopment plan, and the idea of converting old homes into businesses is preferable to the alternative. “Any business that moves in … they’re saving historical buildings, otherwise developers would come in and knock it down,” he says. “They’re saving the integrity of the historic homes right off the downtown.” As for Bruce, she says redevelopment plans like this are always evolving.“The first change has to occur, and then the evaluation comes with that … it’s not a storm of change; it’s something that rolls out at a reasonable pace. It’s very organic when that happens,” she says. For the Pachecos, they see the Village as being a place that they hope retains its charm and heritage, and say they’ll work to make their restaurant a good neighbour. “We want the restaurant to be like an extension of our home … to have people come and feel like they’re eating in our home,” says Loy Pacheco. LIFE For more information on the Village Area Redevelopment Plan, visit airdrie.ca
CITY | centennial
A CENTURY OF
Airdrie’s Centennial events provide hundreds of new memories
“That [entry] spoke to council,” says Richards.“I think people really enjoy it and are curious about it and impressed.” The sculpture was funded in part by the Airdrie Centennial Committee, the City of Airdrie, The Alberta Government and Westmark Holdings. The base of art work was designed, constructed and donated by Bird Construction and Stantec Engineering.
tHE WrItE stuFF
Honsun Chu’s design, Centennial Sphere, decorates the front of Airdrie city hall after the sculpture was selected from several entries in the Legacy Art Project
HIstOry COMEs FuLL CIrCLE
rap up time, space and the people of Airdrie in one big ball and you get the Centennial Sphere that now decorates the front of City Hall. Commissioned for the Airdrie Centennial celebration, the Sphere was selected from a handful of entries in the Legacy Art Project. The Sphere was unveiled on Sept. 10 during the official Airdrie Centennial homecoming weekend birthday celebration. “It is a representation of Airdrie’s growth integrating time, people and space and to review the city in its current moment,” says Tara Richards of the City of Airdrie Corporate
Communications department. Requests were sent out to several artists in the area who submitted a diverse collection of designs for the art project. The Airdrie Centennial Committee and city council chose the designs they liked best with council having the final say on the selection. Honsun Chu of Cochrane, AB came up with the winning design and was commissioned to manufacture the piece. Chu has been creating sculpture for more than 30 years. A form of contemporary art, the Sphere is coloured a deep black and grey with protruding blocks and carved lines moving around a sectioned-out area of the core.
With 26 years of Airdrie living experience under his belt, it took only two days to craft a winning song about the 100-year-old city Ron Simon calls home. With lyrics touching on past accomplishments and community spirit, Simon’s tune, “Airdrie - Home to Me” took top honours at the Airdrie Centennial song contest. A long-time musician, and somewhat specialist in writing themes about city anniversaries, Simon jumped at the chance to set the Airdrie spirit to a musical beat. “The writing of the song took me a weekend and another day to make it work,” says Simon, who needed a little prodding and advice for a second draft. “My wife said it sounded too much like other things I’ve done. I needed that kick in the butt. So I went back and put a hook on it and came up with a couple of ideas. “I finally got it to where I liked it too and felt a lot more proud of it.” A veteran musician since his high school days, Simon not only composes on guitar but teaches the instrument, headlines the‘50s/’60s music band Ronnie and the Fixations and runs his own DJ company. Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 97
City | Centennial
Centennial Wrap-Up The Centennial committee offers their final thoughts on a busy year 1. What aspect of the Centennial stands out for you? The great community involvement and the excitement around Homecoming stands out. The generosity of various businesses helped to make the celebration fantastic. Robbie White (Events Committee): The Homecoming weekend was better than we could have imagined – lots of people, lots of fun. So many dedicated people spent personal time making it a success. Sharon Bilben (History Committee): We got people thinking about their own histories and made the community aware that even though Airdrie is only 100 years old, we have a rich and interesting history. Michelle Carre (Marketing, Merchandising, Sponsorship Committee):
2. Did the Centennial have a lasting effect on Airdrie? The Airdrie history book will be part of our written history. Airdrie is already a great community and the Centennial has been another achievement in bringing the community together. White: The Centennial brought long-time residents and newcomers together. People who were involved with Centennial are excited about planning new projects. Bilben: Airdrie has developed a real sense of “home.” It got people thinking about their own histories. Community members have become excited about becoming a part of future celebrations. Carre:
Local singer/songwriter Ron Simon penned the Centennial song
The Airdrie resident called on his research skills and knowledge of the community to come up with the winning lyrics. “It’s actually a history lesson almost in its making. When I was doing the research for it I found out who did what way back when,” says Simon, who credits Murel Clayton, A.E. Bowers, George McDougal and William McKenzie in the lyrics. Simon tuned into the song criteria referencing the past, present and future in the number, including community spirit for recent events such as the Festival of Lights and Airdrie’s entry into Kraft Canada’s Hockeyville. Utilizing plenty of talent at his finger tips, Simon went into the MCC Canada Recording Studio in Calgary to record the Airdrie song with several band and family members at his side. “I also talk about the future. We don’t know what it’s going to be but it’s the people of this town that will open that door on where Airdrie is going,” adds Simon, who just missed winning a top prize at a recent Calgary Folk Festival song contest. “This one got me over the edge. It was just a really nice feather in my hat being that I’ve lived here for 26 years.” LIFE 98 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Dan McKinnon from the Airdrie Centennial Committee dedicates the Grain Elevator Historical Marker, one of six unveiled around Airdrie on Sept. 10, 2009 3. What do you hope for the future of Airdrie? Even though we will continue to grow in population and area, I hope we can maintain that small-town feeling of community. White: The community is growing in a substantial way but I hope we can maintain the small-town atmosphere and friendliness. Bilben: I hope we can continue to share ideas of what Airdrie was like in both the distant and recent past. Recording history is an ongoing project and we welcome stories from both long-time residents and newcomers about what Airdrie means to them. Carre:
Today is tomorrow’s history. Please record your memories and drop them off at/mail to the Nose Creek Valley Museum (1701 Main Street SW, Airdrie LIFE T2B 1C5; phone or fax – 403-948-6685 or e-mail email@example.com).
In the hot seat CITY | People
Mike Dingle’s three decades with Airdrie Emergency Services (AES)
STORY BY ANNE BEATY | PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER
Mike Dingle reflects on 30 years of emergency action
n August 1979, a young couple came to Alberta ‘straight off the boat’ from Stockport, U.K., eagerly anticipating a bright future in their new country. Within a few days, Mike and Jan Dingle had taken the first steps on the path that would define their lives for the next three decades. Because Mike had a job in Acme with Pig Improvement Canada and Jan was working for an oil company in Calgary, the couple decided to settle in between in the fast-growing community of Airdrie. During Mike’s first week of work, Jan suggested to her husband that he volunteer with the local fire department, which was always looking for volunteers. “She thought I would like this and it was a good way to meet people and help the community,” Mike says,“and looking back she was 100 per cent right.” Within a few weeks, the Dingles knew
for sure that their choice of community had been a good one. When Jan’s mother died, the Dingles’ bank manager and his wife – from whom they also rented their first apartment – bought her a plane ticket back to the U.K. “We had only known these people about three weeks; we had no money or credit cards,” Mike says.“They said, ‘We know you will pay us back,’ and we did, but when people do that for you, you know you are in the right place.” At the time of the Dingles’ arrival, Airdrie boasted a population of around 3,300, Towerlane Mall hadn’t been built and there was very little development on the east side of Highway 2. The Main Street fire station had opened the previous January, volunteers met for training every Monday evening and five or six women answered the phone and set off a siren atop the station when a fire occurred. Mike’s introduction to the world of emer-
gency response was simple. “Back then there were no interviews, background checks, police clearance,” Mike says. “[Veteran] Butch Davy showed me around and said show up when the fire siren goes off and we will find you something to do. At the end of three months, if the guys wanted you to stick around they voted you in or out.” The volunteers had to take time off work to attend the fire training school in Vermilion, but that didn’t matter to Mike. “I was a very keen volunteer,” he says. Davy was of great assistance in the beginning, knowing as he did every inch of the community and surrounding countryside. Mike remembers his fellow firefighter as a walking roadmap who knew exactly where to go for each and every call. “It was always, ‘Butch knows where it is,’” Mike says, adding that these days mapping is Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 99
City | People
much more complex. In the spring of 1980, the town purchased its first ambulance, thanks to the efforts of a fundraising committee chaired by Airdrie businessman Dick Buchanan, and the integrated emergency medical and fire service came into being. Not long after, Mike began his training to become am emergency medical technician, setting the tone of his and his family’s life for the next three decades. Over the years, medical and firefighting technology evolved. “When I first started, we had four breathing apparatuses between all of us,” Mike says. “There used to be one [fire] truck ... we’d hang off the side of it … we used to ride on the back of the tailboards.” Even the introduction of pagers was a real highlight for the Airdrie Emergency Services members. “Oh my God, we were so thrilled,” Mike says, adding that the AES volunteers were extremely proud to wear the pagers on their belts. “Everybody knew you were a firefighter.” Throughout the years, there were many memorable emergency calls. One of the first was when Mike had only been out of emergency medical school for three weeks – the dayliner crash at Carstairs in 1982. When the call came in, there was already a report of five people dead and 30 to 40 injured, Mike says, and when they arrived on scene, it was chaos. The engineer had two broken legs, but was still manoeuvring around, trying to help the injured. A trauma surgeon, who had been flown in by helicopter, performed open heart massage on a patient. One of the passengers had to have a leg amputated while on the train. “It was so busy,” Mike says.“You don’t even have time to be scared or anxious – you just have to get on with your job.” This experience made a huge impact on the young EMT, who quickly realized a basic truth.“Life is precious,” Mike says. Mike also remembers a major snowstorm in the early 1980s, when the community came out in force to assist with people who had been stranded and needed help. AES, M.D. of Rocky View and RCMP members helped get people off the highways into makeshift shelters in town, such as the 100 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
Town and Country Centre, which housed 300 for the duration of the storm. A local pharmacist got out of bed to get prescriptions for people. AES members delivered a baby, who was flown to hospital by helicopter. There was no power, no phone service and everyone helped everyone else, Mike says. This experience was what fostered an interest in disaster services, as well as renewing his appreciation for his community. “It was a fantastic time,” he says, “and all the residents said the same thing, because it brought back neighbours.” Then there was the motor vehicle crash north on Highway 2, in which the patient wouldn’t leave without his dog. “We … put the dog in the ambulance and took the bloody dog to the hospital,” Mike says.
• • •
“You don’t even have time to be scared or anxious – you just have to get on with your job” • • • Non-emergency activities have also been an important part of Mike’s tenure with AES, especially when the community was much smaller. “It was a far simpler time then,” he says. One such event was the annual candy cane delivery on Christmas Eve, in which AES members in fire trucks delivered candy canes to every house in Airdrie. “It was unbelievable. There’d be kids on the sidewalk and they’d be jumping up and down – it put a tear in your eye,” Mike says.“I loved it. It was so much fun.” AES also used to host a Special Elves party at the fire hall each yuletide season. The children could hear radio calls between the AES and Santa, as he approached Airdrie. Then they heard the reindeer land on the roof (six burly firefighters jumping up and down in unison) and Santa slid down the pole to the delight of the party-goers. “The kids’ faces that day, it was priceless,” Mike says. In another holiday tradition, AES collected Christmas trees for burning – an
event complete with hot chocolate and skating. And the annual July 1 charity barbecue at the fire hall was also a hit, thanks to much support from local business woman Sue McGinley. Mike also has fond memories of the relationship between AES and the Airdrie RCMP, when practical jokes between the two services were the norm. “The things we used to get up to, the games that we’d play,” he laughs. Looking back, Mike can’t say enough about the support he had over the years, especially from his family – wife Jan and their two children, Chris and Abby. “I’ve got to thank Jan … she’s a saint. She gave up so much,” he says. “The upsetting calls, she’s always been there. What a trooper she is.” Now after 30 years, Mike has moved onto the next phase of his career, working with Nexen at the Balzac plant as emergency response planner. Although he will miss his former colleagues, he is looking forward to new challenges. “I’m excited,” he says, adding that the biggest adjustment will be to the Monday-toFriday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. “It’s time to grow up and get a real job,” he says. While Mike is looking ahead, he will always carry the memories of the special people with whom he came in contact. One of his favourite memories is when the Festival of Lights first began in the mid1990s. He and his partner had picked up an elderly lady from Bethany Care to take into Calgary hospital. As they were driving away from the care centre, Mike asked her if she had had the chance to see the lights. When she said she had not, he asked his partner to pull into the parking lot at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Main Street. The ambulance was backed up to be as close to the lights as possible and Mike and his partner opened up the back doors. “The look on her face was priceless. It was as if this was the first time she had ever seen Christmas lights,” Mike says.“It was a very rewarding event, as she was talking about it all the way in [to Calgary].” LIFE
works Now Serving | 103
Winning Edge | 106
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WORKS | economic Development
Airdrie’s Economic Development team makes the world take notice STORY BY ALEx FRAzER-HARRISON | PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER
n many ways, it was Airdrie’s coming out party on the world stage. “When people think of Canada, they tend to think of Vancouver or In October, the City of Airdrie’s Economic Development team Toronto or Montreal,” says Rupert.“This lets us tell them what’s happenwas nominated for three awards at the International Economic De- ing here in the West … and Western Canada is becoming more of a presvelopment Council (IEDC) conference in Reno, Nev., an event attended ence in North America [thanks to] our banking systems, the oilsands by 16 countries including the U.S., Australia, South Africa and Spain. and the Olympics. The City came away with awards for General Purpose Website for “We’re going to try and leverage [these awards] as much as we can, the AirdrieNOW campaign (airdrienow.ca), and in New Media for the not only provincially and nationally but internationally as well.” AirdrieNOW! TV project. It also picked up an honourable mention in The IEDC awards weren’t the only feathers in Airdrie’s cap last the General Brochure for Communities 50,000 and Under category. fall. Airdrie Economic Development’s branding and Are You an Entre“It just shows our compreneur? Evening events munity of 38,000 is able to were also nominated for use newer technology to awards at the Economic compete worldwide,” says Developers Association Economic Development of Canada conference in team leader Kent Rupert, Vancouver. No wins this who attended the ceremotime (the City already has ny. “People are able to look an EDAC award from at Airdrie and get a sense 2007 for its three-year that we’re not just a suburb sustainability plan), but of Calgary anymore. We’re Rupert says the event our own entity and there again provided a good opare advantages to working portunity to get Airdrie’s here and living here.” name out there. (L to R) The Airdrie Economic Development team: By comparison, CalAn armful of awards Kent Rupert, Sara Chamberlain, Leona Esau and Chris Macisaac gary and Edmonton only and nominations is a received one award each at pretty good haul considthis year’s ceremony.“Our little community was on the stage three times, ering Airdrie Economic Development only launched airdrienow.ca to the point where people were probably thinking, ‘Where is this Aird- in October 2008. The site features extensive information on Airdrie rie?’” says Rupert. geared towards potential business and development investors, as well Such networking is valuable to the City as it works to promote Air- as the local version of the BizPal information service, and it hosts Airdrie as a place to invest, live and do business. The event provided an op- drieNOW! TV, which the City calls“Airdrie’s only online TV station,” portunity to get the Airdrie brand on the world stage, while also sharing featuring community and business profiles. information about economic development-related challenges and suc“AirdrieNOW! TV is a platform we use [so that] people can talk cesses elsewhere. business-to-business,” says Rupert.“A message we heard over and over “It’s interesting because it’s neat to find out where the Canadian or [from featured businesses] is how easy it was for them to find quality Alberta economy sits on the world stage,” says Rupert.“Some [areas] are employees here.” actually doing better than we hear on the news. You do events like these Airdrie Economic Development continues to expand its online/ awards and you meet people and you can bring back best practices on new media offerings, most recently launching its own Twitter account. how we can move Airdrie’s story along.” “You look at new media … and it’s really the way people are doing Raising awareness of Canada, and Western Canada in particular, is business and it opens up a two-way conversation,” says Rupert. “It’s reLIFE also a benefit of attending these kinds of events. ally a powerful tool.” 102 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
WORKS | Food Service
Now serving story by Alex Frazer-Harrison
photo by Sergei Belski
Airdrie’s growth means more restaurants
et another sign of Airdrie’s continued growth is the growing number of well-known restaurant chains calling the city home. From new restaurants such as Brewsters Brewing Co. to coming attractions like Original Joe’s, Airdrie residents have more excuses to eat out than ever before.
Now serving more than 30,000 residents. (L to R) Jamie Lee and Jeff Smith of Mr Mikes
“When you look at the chains, it’s all about the numbers and population and draw,” says City of Airdrie Economic Development team leader Kent Rupert. “For years, we’ve continued to convince the chain restaurants we do have the drawing power. Unfortunately with our market, it’s hard to quantify with north Calgary.” That’s because while those residents are technically within the Calgary market area, many choose to come to Airdrie to dine, Rupert says. One chain that has arrived in Airdrie is Mr Mikes Steakhouse & Bar, which opened on Sierra Springs Dr. in December 2008. “For the first seven months we were open, we were the No. 1-ranked overall store [in the chain],” says general manager Jeff Smith.“That was
a real pat on the back to all my staff and everyone that worked to get us where we are.” The Mr Mikes name dates back to the early 1960s, and through changes in ownership it’s evolved into a West Coast-influenced “urban steakhouse” concept, with 17 locations in Alberta and B.C. Smith says Mr Mikes is attracted to “blanket communities” on the periphery of larger centres, though the chain has also been successful in places like Grande Prairie and Fort St. John. “The pretentiousness is something people don’t really want out here,” Smith says. “And Airdrie is a city on the rise. I’ve been here 10 months and even in the area I’m living in, we’ve probably seen a 300-percent increase in homes.” Smith moved with the job from Grande Prairie, and says there are similarities between the two communities. “There’s a lot of infrastructure coming in that is allowing [Airdrie] to catch up to big development,” he says. Some of that infrastructure work, such as the ongoing reconstruction of the nearby Yankee Valley/QE II interchange, has been a benefit to Mr Mikes, especially when detours work in the restaurant’s favour. “The [motorists] were waiting in line, but they were waiting in line in front of us and smelling the steak that was coming off the grills,” Smith says.“It definitely worked to our advantage.” Mr Mikes has also developed a good rapport with nearby businesses, including Boston Pizza (yet another major chain setting up shop in recent years), and the Comfort Inn & Suites across the street. “I have a good referral plan with the Comfort Inn … all the trainers and head office guys for all the big stores and chains [in the CrossIron Mills megamall] were staying there, and they’d come here to eat. Also, the drop-off from CrossIron Mills [for the mall’s staff shuttle bus service] is right across the street.” Like other businesses, Smith and Mr Mikes wasted no time in getting involved in the community. “Our industry is about expendable income, so if I cover my bills there are always people who need it better than us, and that’s how I’ve always worked,” he says, adding he often receives requests to support local causes and tries to help when he can. Meanwhile, another major chain – Calgary-based Original Joe’s – is currently building its first Airdrie location at Creekside Crossing, with an expected opening in 2010. Rupert says it’s an ongoing job of Airdrie Economic Development to keep trying to attract these sorts of businesses. “Airdrie is often considered a best-kept secret,” he says. “But businesses that move out here are very successful and we’ve seen that over LIFE and over.” Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 103
Works | Involved
Killarneyâ€™s owner Michael Pyne brings a bit of the U.K. to Airdrie 104 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
The pub as a hub. Local restaurateur Michael Pyne raises the bar on community involvement Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Sergei Belski
ome of Michael Pyne’s favourite memories of growing up in England centre around visits to the local pub. For centuries, the public house has been the social hub of many a town in the U.K. and Ireland – a place where people gather to eat, drink and share the news of the day. When Pyne opened Killarney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant on Airdrie’s Main Street in 2007, he wanted to recreate that classic pub feel. “Look back over hundreds of years, and what do people do in a pub – they relax, celebrate, mourn, talk, drink, eat … that’s what a pub means to me,” says Pyne. “I was born in England; my mother was English and my father was Welsh. I grew up with pubs. My father took me to my first pub when I was probably about 11. “They’ve always been a friendly kind of place for me,” he adds.“You come in and you don’t feel intimidated.” Although Airdrie’s population has skyrocketed since Killarney’s opened its doors two years ago, Pyne still feels the city has retained its small-town feel. “The people of Airdrie are great,” he says. “They still have that sense of community. It’s just like having a pub in a small town in England where everybody knows everybody.” Go into some of the big-city pubs in Calgary and often you’re just another face in the crowd. Pyne moves Killarney’s away from that direction by encouraging his serving staff to not only get to know their customers by name, but also to memorize their favourite drinks. “Some of our customers, we even remember what they like to eat,” says Pyne. “People like to feel they’re somebody and be recognized. That’s one of the charms of a pub, and that’s what it should be about.” And Pyne walks the talk. If you happen to be in Killarney’s on a busy Friday night, don’t be surprised if the charismatic owner doesn’t stop by for a visit at your table. “My goal on a Friday night is to meet two new people,” says Pyne. “On Fridays, I’m the ‘food expediter’ – I’m the go-between [between the serving staff and the kitchen], and I make sure the food looks the way it should and it’s hot before we take it out [to the tables]. After that,
I try to find two people I don’t know and make friends with them.” Pyne’s traditional pub sensibilities extend to the menu, which includes classic pub fare such as boxty (an Irish-style potato pancake), fisherman’s pie and Irish stew. The menu gets an occasional tweak during special events such as Cinco de Mayo, which brings Mexican dishes to Killarney’s, and St. Patrick’s Day, which sees the Irish offerings ramped up with the addition of a Taste of Ireland menu. “I like doing these specialty menus, because it gives our regular [customers] and our cooks a chance to try something different,” Pyne says. Pyne says he tries to create a family atmosphere at Killarney’s, for both staff and patrons. His efforts in this area won him the 2009 Winning Edge Award in the Family Friendly Business Award category. (Killarney’s was also nominated for the main Winning Edge Award.) “The server is at the top of the pyramid, because they’re the ones who work with customers every day,” he says, adding he returns the favour by treating his staff to trips, limo rides and even houseboat outings. Pyne has taken the “pub as community hub” idea to heart by giving back to Airdrie. Killarney’s provides meeting space for a local business breakfast club, and Pyne has been involved in events such as the Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Airdrie Food Bank, contributing to this year’s Alberta 55 Plus Games and donating proceeds from dessert sales to the Make a Wish Foundation. Last year the pub also held a successful fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. “The idea was donate $1 or a toonie and you could post a Santa Claus anywhere you wanted,” says Pyne of the Habitat event. “By the end of December they covered the doors, windows … all you could see was red Santa Clauses.” It’s not uncommon to find Pyne spending long hours at Killarney’s, opening the place at 7 a.m. and closing it in the wee hours, especially when he’s spearheading special events and parties. “If you’re passionate about what you do, then it’s not work,” he says. “I can work five days or seven days and it doesn’t bother me, because it’s LIFE not a chore to come to work.” Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 105
Works | Winners
On the EDGE of greatness story by Alex Frazer-Harrison
Mike Watkins, Airdrie UPS Store
Photos By Sergei Belski
Laurie Barrett, Airdrie Dog And Pony
The 2009 Winning Edge Award winners
ollywood can keep its Oscars and Toronto is welcome to its Hockey Hall of Fame. For Airdrie’s business community, the 12th annual Winning Edge Awards beat them all, hands down. Presented on Oct. 22, the awards recognized excellence in business, environmental stewardship and family friendliness. “These are like the Oscars for business in Airdrie,” said emcee Marty Lawrence of The Range FM. “Like the actors and actresses in Hollywood say, it’s great to be nominated … everyone is a winner; just by being nominated you’re a winner. “Small businesses … are a huge part of our city and these awards are about recognizing outstanding businesses that are a part of this community.” Three award categories were presented. The Family Friendly Business Award recognizes practices that are “supportive of employees’ needs inside and out of the workplace, and businesses that make it fun for families to visit,” said Leanne Hall, representing award sponsors the Airdrie National Family Week Steering Committee. Killarney’s Irish Pub and Restaurant was recognized for providing its staff with flexible
106 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
scheduling to meet their needs, as well as teambuilding opportunities like houseboat and limo rides, and also for introducing a family-friendly menu and monthly colouring contests for kids. According to owner Michael Pyne, the award is one his entire staff shares. “It’s as much their award as it is mine – it’s an award everyone on my staff can take pride in,” he said. The Eco Edge Award recognizes employers that go the extra mile to follow best environmental practices in day-to-day business, ranging from waste-reduction and composting programs, to water conservation and energy efficiency. It’s sponsored by the City of Airdrie Environmental Services Board. This year’s recipient, Airdrie Dog & Pony, a pet supply and dog-grooming business, was honoured for a long list of environmental initiatives that includes following the ‘Three Rs’ – reduce, recycle, reuse – in virtually every aspect of operations. For example, owner Laurie Barrett and her staff recycle ‘previously loved’ supplies such as washtubs and wood, as well as dog hair for use as wool. Barrett has also implemented grooming procedures that don’t require electricity. Barrett said she was surprised to win be-
cause she thought recycling had become second nature to everyone. “I guess we put the effort into it,” she said. “I thought everybody put that much effort into recycling.” Barrett has been a dog groomer for 30 years, and opened her business in Airdrie while still living in Calgary (she’s since moved to Carstairs).“I wanted more of a family operation like a closer-knit community,” she said of her choice to open here. Barrett said the key to her success is in getting to know her clients – the two- and fourlegged variety, alike.“The most important thing to a person is their name, and to know their names and their dog’s name. Everyone who comes in is automatically a friend,” she said. Barrett said she hopes the Eco Edge Award win inspires other local businesses to become environmental stewards. The big award of the evening, the Winning Edge Award, recognizes businesses with less than 50 employees that “employ innovative practices and actively participate in and support events in the city,” said Leona Esau, representing award sponsors the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership. The UPS Store received this year’s award
for demonstrating double-digit growth (“despite changing economic times,” said Esau) while donating, supporting, or helping to organize more than 20 community events. “We’ve made a lot of friends and good business acquaintances here,” said Mike Watkins who, with his wife Deanna, purchased the Airdrie UPS Store in 2007. “What I’ve always subscribed to is this is a city, but we have a small-town feel, and that’s important in our business. “I do believe we still live in a community where we can do business on a handshake.” Among events and services supported by Watkins and his staff: the Airdrie and District Humane Society, golf tournaments for breast cancer and the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, and the Airdrie Festival of Lights. “This is an award won by the team, not by one person in the store,” said Watkins, adding he shares the award with Deanna and team members Tara Danard, Carol Pearse, Brittany Bott and Gloria Greer. “I’m proud of the people who work for me, and this is wonderful for each and every one of them.” “It’s as much their award as it is mine – it’s an award everyone on my staff can take LIFE pride in,” he said. See the feature on Killarney’s on page 104
Nominees for the 2009 Winning Edge Awards: Family Friendly Business Award • Advance Distribution/Here’s the Scoop • Five Star Communications • Frog Hollow Garden and Giftware • Hero Optical • Killarney’s Irish Pub and Restaurant (winner) Eco Edge Award • Airdrie Dog & Pony (winner) • Five Star Communications • Global A.P.E. • RBC Financial - Airdrie • RnR Energy Ltd. Winning Edge Award • Advance Distribution/Here’s the Scoop • Air-Alta Insurance (Airdrie) Ltd. • Killarney’s Irish Pub and Restaurant • Prairie Sun Creations • The UPS Store (winner)
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WORKS | Networking
Members of the Airdrie Breakfast Club
Breakfast Club The
Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Sergei Belski
No, Molly Ringwald is not a member, but being one is a good way to start your day
108 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
nce a week, two dozen local businesspeople gather for breakfast at a local pub. These individuals represent two dozen different businesses and industries within Airdrie. They’re doing more than just breaking bread with each other – they are cultivating personal and business relationships with the goal of growing this city’s business community. “We are all trying to build our businesses,” says Lisa Wine, president of the Airdrie Breakfast Chapter of the Canadian Merchants and Savings Directory (CMSD).“Most of us are either self-employed or work on a sales-commission basis where you have to work for your money. And being able to support each other is awesome.” CMSD operates both a Breakfast and a recently launched Lunch chapter in Airdrie, explains executive director Ron Farrell. “I find in a smaller community like Airdrie [such clubs] are very successful because everyone wants to support everyone else,” he says, adding the Airdrie Breakfast Chapter launched in 2006 and demand was so great a Lunch group started in September 2009. “A key part of this is we only allow one person per trade or profession,” Farrell adds. For example, among members of the Breakfast Chapter, Wine runs SignConcepts, a sign-fabrication business. Treasurer Dawnie Carlson runs At Dawn Massage. Lorelei Talbot, president of the Lunch Chapter, is owner of Astoria Asset Management Ltd. “In a group like this, you are not only helping to build [local] business, but you are building relationships for your own self,” says Wine. “It sounds selfish in a way, but if I need something, I know I can turn to someone in the group to ask for their opinion, or do you know somebody who can help me. “We get free advice a lot of the time … helping each other out without think-
ing. That’s part of relationship building.” Adds Talbot: “You get to know people and you [become] friends. You come into Airdrie, which is a small community – I moved here five years ago – and to start a business, you have got to work that extra hard to get to know people. Joining a networking group lets you do this.” Networking through a breakfast club has certainly helped Carlson, who says most of her clients are actually referrals from the group. “I don’t even advertise – I have built this business through referrals,” says Carlson. “I work out of my home and I don’t want strangers to show up … but if [a fellow member] says, ‘I gave soand-so your name,’ that’s great.” The Breakfast Chapter meets every Thursday at Killarney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (owner Michael Pyne is also a member), while the Lunch Chapter meets at the Homestead Restaurant. An important highlight of the meetings is the opportunity members have to share their experiences and business stories. “We give everyone an opportunity to do their introductions/elevator speeches, to help them learn how to talk about their business,” says Wine.“It gives the group a sense of what you’re up to; what’s happening in your world.” Wine says part of the fun of the Breakfast Chapter is watching newer business owners gain confidence in speaking about and promoting their businesses. “When someone is just starting, they often don’t like public speaking and they have this fear … but week after week, you encourage them and they get more comfortable,” she says. “I was one of these people,” notes Carlson.“I couldn’t speak out when I first started. Now I get up and I can’t stop!” The key is to put as much effort into the group as possible, “because you’ll get
out of it what you put in,” adds Breakfast Chapter vice-president Justin White of Edward Jones Investments. Farrell, who works with Bencharski Insurance Services Ltd., says while CMSD is not considered a lobbying organization, the chapters do bring in speakers to keep members apprised on issues that may affect their businesses. For example, the Breakfast Chapter has hosted Mayor Linda Bruce, as well as police officers discussing topics like fraud prevention. The members also serve as their own mini-better business bureau, notes Talbot: “If there’s a business in Airdrie that has caused [a member] difficulty, it might come up in conversation.” Members of the group are encouraged to not only network with each other – some members even offer each other discounts on services, Wine says – but also to get involved in the community. “We have supported Habitat for Humanity for about two years now,” Wine says. “We had another member put on a fundraiser for ALS. When someone has a need, there’s generally great support.” Members have also taken part in golf tournaments and have even gone on a cruise together. But it’s not just fun and games – during these events serious networking gets done, even though the fruits of these labours aren’t always immediately evident. Wine says she once made a contact that allowed her to give“the perfect referral” to someone else, three years later. “I went to a golf tournament and golfed with a lawyer … that was five years ago and we became friends and now he does my legal and I manage his property … he’s helped me grow my business,” recalls Talbot. “Getting to know people on a level other than a business level … it really opens up those communications LIFE channels.” Winter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 109
Special Feature | FinancialLIFE
IT’S YOUR MONEY story by Anne Beaty
For some people, the very word ‘budget’
sends shudders down their spines. It brings up thoughts of agonizing for hours over a piece of paper with calculator in hand. But budgeting is an essential part of saving and spending wisely, no matter your age. “The word ‘budget’ isn’t a dirty word. A budget is simply knowing where your money is going every month,” says Carol Lawrence, financial advisor with Airdrie Scotiabank. Making a budget and sticking to it is one of the most important ways to keep your finances in order throughout your life. “You really need to track every penny that you’re spending,” says Lawrence’s colleague, Samantha Urban.“It adds up.” Airdrie’s Allan LePoudre, owner of Allan LePoudre Financial Services, says he and his wife have always created regular budgets, which include prioritized lists of things they wish to purchase and how much money they need to save for such expenses as a new vehicle or an emergency. “With us, every year we always made a budget,” LePoudre says. “It’s pretty simple stuff.” Proper financial planning can be your roadmap to success. It can not only ensure that you are able to pay the bills, but it is also invaluable in allowing you to reach your financial goals, such as buying a home, paying for a higher education for your children or yourself, travelling or ensuring you have enough money for your retirement. “Financial planning, like so many other things in life, can be more stressful to think about than to actually do something about it,” says Justin White, financial advisor with Edward Jones. With that in mind, determining your goals is key to creating a realistic budget at any stage of life. 110 AirdrieLIFE | Winter 2009/2010
“Defining the goal is probably the most important thing,” Lawrence says, adding that it’s essential that you and your significant other have the same goals in mind.“You kind of both have to have an idea where you’re going.” Working with your financial advisor to set these goals is also important, Urban says, as is reviewing your financial plan on a regular basis, every year at minimum – a practice which can take as little time as an hour. “One hour to secure your future is pretty minimal,” Lawrence says. “That’s certainly an hour well spent.”
The early years
Keeping your finances on track begins at a young age. Even in your teens, you can begin to put money away for your future dreams. “I’ve dealt with … a few young clients who I felt were doing the right thing,” LePoudre says. “At a very young age, they started to save money. They didn’t go crazy as far as spending their money.” Saving early on, for a variety of goals, will ultimately pay off and it doesn’t take much to start. Even small regular automatic withdrawals from your bank account – as little as $20 a week – will make a difference. It may not sound like much, but that money and any interest it earns will compound over time. “You definitely make [the withdrawal] automatic and you make it repetitive,” White says. “While this strategy may seem boring, the slow and steady approach really does work.” Kerrie Reynolds, Airdrie ATB personal
banking specialist, agrees and recommends that your automatic withdrawals come out the same day as payday. “You won’t even notice it,” Reynolds says. “Even $25 – that’s better than nothing.” Regular payments can be put into a taxfree savings account or a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). While a 20-year-old may not be thinking about retiring quite yet, that money will accumulate and can be withdrawn later on without penalty to be used as a downpayment for a first home and repaid back into the RRSP over 15 years. “That’s an ideal way to save for a house,” LePoudre says. And if you are currently carrying debt that precludes your plans for a home, Reynolds says, that high-interest-rate debt should be paid off faster before you start to save for a downpayment. Most people in their twenties just want to enjoy themselves before they take on a mortgage or other financial obligations. As such, White says, they should have a fairly simple financial plan: pay off all debt from student loans and credit cards and perhaps start to save for a downpayment. Some of the financial problems young people run into, though, often come from misuse of credit. “They don’t know how to manage it,” LePoudre says, adding that missing credit card payments or overextending are common mistakes that will affect your credit rating. “There’s nothing wrong with credit. Credit is good for using for the right purposes … it just has to be managed wisely.” Your credit rating plays a major role in the years to come and there are several ways to improve that rating, such as demonstrating job stability, paying your bills on time, keeping your credit card balance low and not going
Budgeting for your stages of life over your assigned credit card limit. Setting up automatic payments for your credit cards is also a good idea. “Credit card debt is never good,” Reynolds says.“Watch your credit.” When it comes to finding the right investments at this age – or at any age – educating yourself and understanding how investments work is crucial. This is where a financial advisor comes in. A financial advisor can help you decide what will work best for your own personal plan and goals, within your budget. Financial portfolios are like the old real estate adage of ‘location, location, location,’ White says.“In investments, it’s all about quality, quality, quality.” Expecting to ‘get rich quick’ is a common mistake and White encourages young people to be wary of investments that seem too good to be true. ‘Good boring investments’ may not have quite the panache of the risky ones, but they make more money in the long term and allow investors to ride out recessions. “Don’t sit and watch your investments, hoping to make a quick profit,” he says. It’s also essential to monitor your investments. While people understand a ‘buyand-hold’ financial strategy, White says, this shouldn’t turn into ‘buy and hold and forget.’
People are often looking at several changes in their lives and their financial position as they get into their thirties. Having finished their education, they are getting married, starting families, buying homes. They are beginning
to set their financial foundations, White says, so that life doesn’t derail them later on. “Even if you feel financially strapped there are a number of things you can do to save and invest for the things you want to do,” he says. White’s recommendations include: • Don’t worry about saving for retirement, just start saving for the sake of saving. In other words, save for your future ‘whatever.’ • If you are lucky enough to work for a company that has a retirement plan and it matches your contribution, max it out – it’s free money. • Forget the RRSP season and invest throughout the year. Invest only enough in an RRSP to get your taxable income down to zero. • Invest in a tax-free savings account (TFSA) and pay off debt. “Time is the most valuable asset in your pocket right now,” he says. “The longer you allow your savings to grow, the greater the potential payback later.” This is also the time of life when many people are looking at one of the most important financial decisions they will ever make: purchasing a home. As such, the choice of the right kind of mortgage is essential to financial stability, so that homebuyers don’t spread themselves too thin or become ‘house poor.’ “There are all types of mortgages,” Reynolds says. Most first-time homebuyers choose to go with a fixed rate for their mortgage. Choosing to make payments weekly or bi-weekly is a good idea and with many mortgages, extra payments or lump sum payments can be made, Reynolds says, and the amortization period can be dropped at any time without penalties. This means that you can begin with a longer amortization period and drop that time period as your financial situation changes.
“The higher amortization that you pick, the more interest that you’re paying,” Reynolds says. With traditional financing, homebuyers need a 20 per cent downpayment, but through such agencies as CMHC and Genworth Financial, a home can be purchased with as little as five per cent down. “You’re basically financing 95 per cent of your mortgage,” Reynolds says, adding that money from loans or lines of credit cannot be used for a downpayment. Before heading out to look at houses, it’s a good idea to find out just how much mortgage you will be approved to carry. “Pre-approvals are definitely the way to go,” Reynolds says, adding that when making an offer, the conditions should include ‘subject to financing.’ It’s important to remember that paperwork takes time and buyers shouldn’t expect to be able to say yes to a home and move in immediately. “Don’t expect this all to be done in three to four days,” she says. While a mortgage approval takes into account such payments as the mortgage, loans, lines of credit and credit card debts, homebuyers also need to consider other costs, such as property taxes, condo fees, utility bills and the cost of furnishing the home, when they are deciding how much they can comfortably afford. Up-front homebuying costs – fees for lawyers and realtors –can also catch people off guard. Starting small is the sensible way to go when it comes to buying a home, so new homeowners aren’t maxed out when it comes to paying the mortgage and all the other bills that add up every month. Buyers who begin with ‘starter homes’ which fit within their budget and then move up the property ladWinter 2009/2010 | AirdrieLIFE 111
Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates
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403-804-3694 www.wemortgage.ca firstname.lastname@example.org 129 Bowers Street, Airdrie
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Special Feature | FinancialLIFE
der as they can afford it are less likely to find themselves in financial difficulties now or down the road. “In the end they’re going to be better off,” LePoudre says. Along with planning for your first home, now is also a good time to begin looking ahead to your children’s education expenses with a registered education savings plan (RESP). An RESP allows you to save money for your children’s post-secondary costs, with the federal government contributing through one of two programs: the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond. An RESP is also flexible – if your children decide not to attend postsecondary school, you as a parent can use it to further your own education or the money can be transferred into an RRSP. “There’s nothing that beats that – that’s a great plan,” LePoudre says.
If you are in your middle years – your children are grown up, perhaps in university or have moved away from home; your vehicles are paid off; your finances more stable – there are resources available to help you reach your goals. It’s all about realizing what kind of lifestyle you want, without crippling your budget. “You’d love to figure out how to spend more time doing the things you enjoy doing with friends and family, while achieving your career goals and saving for the future,” White says. “These are your good earning years, statistically speaking, so it’s time to make the most out of every dollar.” Ideally you should already have created a financial plan, which you revisit on a regular basis. Whether budgeting for your current expenditures, prioritizing your wants or looking ahead to retirement, White says, there are several questions to ask yourself: What’s the monthly cost to maintain my standard of living? What lifestyle do I see for
myself in the future? How much will I need financially to achieve each of my goals? When do I plan to retire? How much income do I have available to invest? Do I have enough money set aside or available in case of an emergency? There are plenty of routes to take toward continued financial stability and to get any remaining debt load down, while still putting aside for the future. “There are lots of opportunities to consolidate debt,” LePoudre says. In terms of financing your goals, your home is a big asset, Lawrence says, and home equity loans or lines of credit can be used to achieve a variety of objectives – home renovations, travel, further education. This is another case in which determining your goals is essential. Some people have a goal to be mortgage-free, Urban says, while others don’t mind making a regular monthly payment, if it allows them to attain another goal. “That’s where proper financial planning comes into place,” Lawrence says. Moving into your fifties and beyond, you may be at your peak earning years, with most financial obligations out of the way, but retirement looms on the horizon and you may be concerned with how a potential drop in income could affect your day-to-day life. “I think people just want the ability to choose whether or not they work,” White says. The goal at this stage of life is to be financially comfortable, he says, making it absolutely essential to have a documented, detailed financial plan. While some people are financially prepared to face retirement, others have fallen behind. In this case, White says, there are ways to catch up in order to secure your future. “Boost your savings; look at ways to cut expenses; add to your RRSP and company pension plan; look into part-time employment; push back your retirement date; downgrade your home; rethink your retirement lifestyle,” he says. All in all, creating a budget, regularly revisiting your financial plans and revising them as necessary will help you to be financially stable, no matter your time of life. LIFE
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Wine, Women and Wealth Paula and Stephanie established Wine, Women and Wealth to bring women together over a glass of wine and appetizers, to discuss the value of sound financial planning and how it relates to you and your loved ones. “Comprehensive Planning balances all of your goals including tax reduction, retirement strategies and planning for family vacations,” says Stephanie Regardless of what stage of life you are in, if you are a small to medium size business owner or if you are the CEO of your family’s finances, we have ideas and strategies that any woman at any age can take advantage of. “Our goal is to inspire you to take control of this fundamentally important aspect of your life, one which is all too often left in someone else’s hands,” Paula adds. Whether you are in a single or double income home, women make 80-90% of the purchasing decisions. Could your household benefit from some new ideas? Invis Deborah Dunitz-Beechey, a licensed mortgage associate working with Invis – Canada’s Mortgage Experts, says most people don’t realize that working with a mortgage broker provides options such as financial restructuring, mortgage renewal, or equity withdrawal. “Another point to consider is that many of the lenders we do business with are available only through a mortgage broker,” Deborah says. “So you’ll get product choice, convenient meeting times and locations, ongoing consultation throughout the process, competitive rates often better than those offered at the bank and best of all the vast majority of the time there are no fees for my services.” With all of these advantages, it just makes sense to work with a mortgage broker to arrange financing for your home purchase, mortgage renewal, home renovation, equity withdrawal, vacation property purchase or whatever your mortgage financing requirements. It could save you both time and money!
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Edward Jones Too much of a good thing You probably know you need to diversify your portfolio. Unfortunately, you may think your investments are already sufficiently diversified because you own a few different stocks or perhaps have several different accounts. Usually that’s not enough, and in our view, overconcentration is a risk that’s not worth taking. Most investors know portfolio diversification is an important strategy, but many fail to diversify their portfolios sufficiently. The most frequent mistake is owning too much of a single investment, usually a stock. Even if it’s an excellent company with good prospects, our advice is to reduce it to no more than 5% of your portfolio. The same guidance applies to fixed-income investments — we believe no security should be more than 5% of your total portfolio value. In contrast, mutual funds and other managed investments can be larger portions of your portfolio — as large as 25%, in our view —as they are diversified investments themselves. RBC Making your life a little easier Make breakfast, drop off the kids, go to work, meeting at lunch, pick up the kids, go to the bank, get groceries, make dinner – there are a lot of things to do in a day. So to make it a little easier RBC’s mobile team will meet you anywhere you like, anytime that works for you. “We know how busy you are, and we want to make your day easier,” says Carman Thiessen, Financial Planner with RBC Wealth Management. “We can provide easy access to relevant resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you need a mortgage, or just to talk to someone about planning for the future, we will come to you.” The RBC mobile team includes Investment and Retirement Planners and Mortgage Specialists. Whether you decide to meet in your office, at your home, or even in your favourite coffee shop, an Investment and Retirement Planning Specialist can help with private banking, global banking, retirement income planning and financial planning.
“We provide highly customized strategies that offer effective financial solutions,” says Ayron Brown, RBC Mortgage Specialist. “Every person’s needs and dreams are different so we want to ensure that our solutions match what you are looking for.” With your RBC mobile specialist, you can count on: • Objective professional financial planning advice, so you can be sure all the recommendations are tailored around you; • Access to a wide range of investment solutions to build your specific portfolio; • Breadth of experience; • Mortgage switch in, refinance and new purchase advice; • New home builder packages To contact an RBC Mobile Specialist visit www. rbc.com or drop into the RBC Airdrie Branch at 100 Main Street NE. The branch is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and on Saturday; 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. The Co-operators Mortgage Insurance While most people don’t think about shopping selectively for mortgage insurance, you do have a choice. There are differences in the products available to you. With The Co-operators, you own and control the policy; it is portable and convertible and the face amount is payable to your beneficiary, not the financial institution. Also the face amount does not decrease over time. Best of all coverage is sold and serviced by an insurance professional. Call for your appointment today! Dominion Lending Beware of mortgage fraud and title fraud As a homeowner, you need to be aware of crimes on the rise known as mortgage fraud. The most common type of mortgage fraud involves a criminal obtaining a property, then increasing its value through a series of sales and resales
Mike Acheson, C.I.P., C.L.U. 15-620 1st Ave NW Airdrie, AB email@example.com Phone: (403) 948-1195 Fax: (403) 948-1197 www.cooperators.ca The Co-operators is the leading Canadian-owned multi-product insurance company.
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involving the fraudster and someone working in cooperation with them. A mortgage is then secured for the property based on the inﬂated price. Following are some red ﬂags for mortgage fraud: • Someone offers you money to use your name and credit information to obtain a mortgage • You are encouraged to include false information on a mortgage application • You are asked to leave signature lines or other important areas of your mortgage application blank • The seller or investment advisor discourages you from seeing or inspecting the property you will be purchasing • The seller or developer rebates you money on closing, and you don’t disclose this to your lending institution Sadly, the only red ﬂag for title fraud occurs when your mortgage mysteriously goes into default and the lender begins foreclosure proceedings. Even worse, as the homeowner, you are the one hurt by title fraud, rather than the lender, as is the case with mortgage fraud. Unlike with mortgage fraud, during title fraud, you haven’t been approached or offered anything – this is a form of identity theft.
Brandy Matt Alan
Michelle Frank RE/MAX
Rocky View Real Estate • Real Estate (Central) 540 2nd Ave Airdrie • 403-948-5900
TEAM TENNANT Real Estate investing Investing in Real Estate starts with identifying your goals. It is a large investment and you want to be clear about what you are looking for. Are you looking for a home to raise your family in, is it a stepping stone in the path to your dream? Maybe you are considering a recreational property or something that you want to generate income from. Is your plan to build your investment portfolio as you climb the property ladder? No matter what your objective is, the key is to have a REALTOR working with you who knows what your goals are and can help you achieve them. There are many things to consider when purchasing a property. If this is a family home you may want to be close to schools
MANULiFE BANK All-in-one borrowing and chequing accounts With a non-traditional ﬂexible account like Manulife ‘one’, things are different. You have an all-in-one borrowing and chequing account with a borrowing limit that is based on the value of your home. All of your debt, or as much as possible, is consolidated into this account at one low rate. Your income and savings are deposited into your account. When that happens, your balance immediately drops and you pay interest on that lower amount until you spend your money. Live out of the account. Pay your living expenses with cheques, a debit card or via internet and telephone banking. Make your investment deposits through cheques or pre-authorized withdrawals. Your account is a consolidation of your debts so there are no multiple loan payments. No “tight” times in the month. Every dollar you put into the account you can take back out again if you ever need it (up to your borrowing limit). That’s it. Manulife ‘one’ saves you thousands by putting your money to work…for you. Can it get any simpler? Banking, the way LIFE it should be.
or on a quiet street. Ask yourself if the home can grow with your family. If you are looking to invest you may want a downtown property that is close to amenities or a “fixer upper” in a great part of town. Thinking of a recreational property in Arizona (or anywhere for that matter)? You will want to consider maintenance costs and possibly a management company if you want to rent out the property. “There are a lot of things to think about from location to upkeep to resale” says Alan Tennant, “that’s why you need a great REALTOR to help navigate you through the process”. The Alan Tennant Team is ready to help you with your real estate investments whether it’s around the corner or around the world.
UNLOCK THE VALUE in your home Are you over 60 with home equity? Do you need cash? • for payment of debts • helping family with education or a home purchase • upgrading your home • investments • vacations
Regardless of your age, I offer a full range of mortgage options and services!
Do these features appeal to you? • tax free cash • no payments • no income qualification • typically no credit qualification
For a personal, no-obligation mortgage consultation, call me today.
DUNITZ-BEECHEY, B.SC., CIS, MBA
403.473.7921 firstname.lastname@example.org OAC, E&OE
PRESENTED FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN
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Paula & Stephanie Details at:
403.284.0494 www.WineWomenAndWealth.ca info@WineWomenAndWealth.ca
Very few women will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary due to a divorce or death of a spouse. Surprisingly, the average age of widowhood is 56 years and women live an average of 5 years longer than men. It’s no surprise that 9 out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives.
Now is the time to discover a whole new way of living
New Homes starting in the low $300â€™s* McKee Homes
Prominent Homes 403-948-4105 Gallery Homes
Pr air ieSp r in gs .ca
*Price subject to change. See sales representative for details. | AirdrieLIFE Winter 2009/2010 119
The Cooper family settled this land in 1892 and with a history of community service, was instrumental in helping Airdrie become the great place it is today. We’re continuing the tradition with an estate-style community that’s big on greenspace and traditional appeal. More than 50% of our lots back onto linear parkland, with miles of recreational trails to explore. This is a place to raise your kids, and where your kids will want to raise their kids. Come and see for yourself.
Great Homes on Large Lots from the $400’s. 4 impressive show homes to see • Avi 403.536.7220 • Copper Rock 403.466.8353 • McKee 403.948.4635 • Trillium 403.948.6766 cooperscrossing.ca
We s t M a r k H o l d i n g s L t d . 7 C o o p e r ’s C l o s e , A i r d r i e , A l b e r t a • c o o p e r s c r o s s i n g @ w e s t m a r k . c a • 4 0 3 . 9 4 8 . 5 3 0 0