Page 1

summer 2014

Javier ortega muay Thai

champion and 13 More

Men We


The MAN Issue

Airdrie oilmen | Five-Alarm Design | cool guys with cool Jobs

“It’s the best thing I ever did! I never thought my smile could look so great. I just wish I’d done it sooner!” - Kayla, 26

Your choice. Your smile. Whether you’re considering Invisalign® clear aligners or today’s braces, Quest Orthodontics is here to help you reach your smile enhancement and bite improvement goals. Airdrie’s first and only orthodontic clinic is currently accepting new patients of all ages.

Dr. Mo Korayem is a certified specialist in Orthodontics. Orthodontists are specialized dentists with an additional 2-3 years of additional education and training beyond dental school focusing on the art and science of dental alignment, bite correction, and smile enhancement.

no referral necessary

free initial consultations 4

| summer 2014

interest-free financing

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Contributors summer 2014

What stereotypical ‘man’ activity are you looking forward to this summer?

Group Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt




Anne Beaty Vanessa Peterelli Kim Williams

CONTRIBUTORS Sergei Belski, Leslie Davies,

Alex Frazer-Harrison, Writer Finding places to hide my new car from the hailstorms!

Alex Frazer-Harrison, Rob Jamieson, Ellen Kelly, Kurtis Kristianson, Jeff MacKinnon, Tina McMillan, Carl Patzel, Vanessa Peterelli, Kent Rupert, Corey Wine ADVERTISING SALES

Corey Wine

PRINTING Print West Distribution manager

John Pirzek

Contact Us

Editorial Advertising Where to find us

airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue please contact

Jeff MacKinnon, Writer Each summer I venture out into the bush to fetch firewood for the winter wielding a chainsaw that scares me.

Sergei Belski, Photographer I’m looking forward to taking some longer trips on my Vespa, maybe to Vancouver or somewhere in the U.S. (We all know that real men ride a Vespa and not a Harley!) Looking forward to riding my bicycle and doing some barbecue/campfire parties.

airdrielife is also available at more than 50 locations around the city. You can also find airdrielife in every showhome in the city and at more than 100 locations in Calgary. airdrielife is published quarterly by Frog Media Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.


ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2014 by Frog Media Inc. May not be reproduced without permission. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher. Editorial Policy

airdrielife editorial is not for sale. Editorial is completely independent from advertising, and no special editorial consideration or commitment of any kind can form any part of the advertising agreement. All editorial inquiries must be directed toward the editor. A copy of Frog Media Inc. Writers’ Guidelines can be downloaded from the editorial page on our website. airdrielife does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to airdrielife is produced from well-managed forests, printed with canola-based inks, and is 100% recyclable.


| summer 2014

This Summer There Will Be A Whole New Way To Live In Airdrie.

Right now, we are busy putting the finishing touches on our new Airdrie community of Southwinds. • New home styles never seen before in Airdrie • Contemporary, Prairie, Colonial, Craftsman • Urban Townhomes, Single and Double Car Garage Homes • Master-planned with parks, playgrounds, walking/biking trails and serene natural wetlands • Exterior variety creates interesting, vibrant streetscapes

Register at Follow us: All illustrations are artist’s concept. All dimensions are approximate. Prices, specifications, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. E.&O.E.

editor’s note Visit McKee show homes in these outstanding Airdrie communities. Canals Landing 6 Canals Close Cooper’s Crossing 1161 Coopers Drive Heron Point 386 Reunion Green King’s Heights 1191 King’s Heights Road Ravenswood 115 Ravenskirk Road

As summer approaches (sort of), I look forward to the numerous activities and events that make up Airdrie’s sheer enjoyment of our month or so outdoors in the sun (sort of). I also look forward to putting together our annual ‘just-for-the-guys’ issue and learning more about Airdrie’s male side. From creative vision (page 18) to cool jobs (page 77), from community focus (page 52) to entrepreneurial initiative (page 84), our men have a lot to offer, and we’re pleased to be able to introduce them to the community. On the culinary side, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about our own Corey Wine’s tour through Airdrie’s Mexican cuisine offerings (page 26). I trust Corey’s taste, and plan a tour de comida of my own. ¡Tengo la intención de comer mucho! This issue, we are also kicking off a special feature: Men We Admire (page 53). As with our Amazing Women coverage, we do not have enough space to include all the admirable men in Airdrie, but these guys are certainly representative of their community. If we had all the print space in the world, we still couldn’t tell all their stories, but we can spotlight them and their contributions that make such a difference. So sit back, put your feet up, grab a cold one (beer, lemonade, highly healthy smoothie) and get to know the guys of Airdrie. 403-948-6595 Anne Beaty, EDITOR


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McKee Airdrie Life 1/3p Feb 7.indd 1

14-02-07 8:47 AM

We wouldn’t build it like this.

We will, however, build the home you’ve been dreaming of. Every McKee Home is a custom experience: we listen to you, and work with you to build a home that’s unmistakably yours. Your vision. Our Plans. Let’s get your dream home started.

403-948-6595 

The Silent Valley, artist’s misconception.

CANALS Kellee Davis & KaRi aNN HODGe 403-948-9726 | COOPER’S CROSSING NaNCY HaRRis 403-948-4635 RAVENSWOOD DOUG KiRK 403-980-1092 | REUNION DeNNis FiTZPaTRiCK 403-948-2399 | KING’S HEIGHTS RaY MaYNaRD 403-923-3550


On the Cover


Javier ortega is one of Airdrie’s admirable men.


22 70

life at home 60

Partnership – students build future


one of a Kind – home boasts unique feature


neighbours – old town provides fond memories


community Presence – builder focuses on customers


modern style – condos stir interest


tour de Force – company leaves its mark

life at work

life in the

moment 18

natural beauty – artist carves out niche


sound investment – musician at home in studio


Delicioso – airdrie goes mexican


challenging – Participants get fit


transformation – woman proves inspiring

life in the

community 49

summer Games – Volunteers spell success


major move – Family makes home in airdrie

51 52 53


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Game Face – lacrosse remains popular airdrie’s oilmen – association supports community admirable – men change their community


not just work – hot jobs are cool


starting smart – Program takes off


aiming high – business grows with demand


techno-business – local company evolves

Columns & regular features 28



reallife with rob jamieson


lifetimes with Ellen Kelly


Parentlife with Vanessa Peterelli




lifestyles with tina mcmillan


businesslife with Kent rupert


last look

o t e v o m r u o y e Mak


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Front-attached garage homes starting from the low





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Friday & Saturday, August 22 & 23, 2014 Airdrie Rodeo Grounds 10 kms west of Airdrie on Hwy 567


saturday, August 23

Zeppelina & Busterplush Friday August 22



Pro Bull Riding Both Nights!

Full Weekend Pass Only $50* Daily Pass $30*

*with a non perishable food item

Free Camping

(self contained only)

Tickets available at AOAALBERTA.COM Airdrie Oilmens supports the following organizations

Proud Partner Ride

AM Sunday 16 10 | summer 2014 Aug 24

moment life in the 18 Knock on Wood

26 eat, eat 32 Up to the Challenge

life in the


artist profile

Carving out a Future Wood artist Eric Proulx goes with the grain story by Ellen Kelly | photos by Kristy Reimer


riginally from Rimouski, Que., artist Eric Proulx came west in 1989 to work in his brother’s antique store and decided to stay. Proulx’s relationship with wood began about the same time, as an interest in carving and through working with his brother to restore and refinish antique furniture. “The first day I started waxing and cleaning furniture. You have to do it right and be patient without cutting corners. It’s a craft,” he says. Proulx was attending art college in Quebec, but when the opportunity arose to come west, he left.“I really wanted to come here and learn English and see something different. I thought if I don’t like it I can always go back, but I’m still here after 25 years,” he says. When he first came to Calgary, Proulx lived on the same block as Studio Think, an artists’ studio that accommodated woodcarvers, painters working on their art projects and a community of likeminded artists supporting each other.“I was walking by one day. I looked through the window and the carving and painting caught my heart on fire,” he says. There he met chainsaw carver Rick Silas, who became his mentor. “One day he just gave me a chainsaw and said go ahead,” Proulx says.


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Ralph mccall elementary


canals blVD

1st AvE NW

sagewood drive SW can canoe cre crescent

canals close





| summer 2014

The next step was a move to Airdrie eight years ago and, as owner of Truecraft Furniture Finishing for the past three-and-a-half years, Proulx has been able to celebrate his passion for working with wood, both as a livelihood and as an artist. He recently moved his workspace to the back of his shop and built a gallery to display his artwork in the reception area. Proulx paints – he uses a technique which starts with small details and expands to include the background – but his first love is working with wood. He creates very large wood sculptures, beginning with a chainsaw to cut away the excess wood, then using several different grinders and sanders to create a beautiful, abstract sculpture. “I make it as smooth as possible, sanded inside and out,” says the artist. “In my heart I think a sculpture should be touched. It is meant to be enjoyed that way.” Some of the sculptures in Proulx’s studio are more than six feet high and he’s done larger ones. All are intricately carved out of one piece of wood and finished to perfection, emphasizing the grain as well as the unique characteristics in the wood which he chooses carefully from what is available. When he begins, Proulx has a vision of what the piece will look like, but says the vision changes as flaws are exposed.“My job is to bring out the best in the wood,” he says.“I keep natural flaws intact as part of the sculpture.” His artistic inspiration comes from nature and from studying beautiful sculptures in highend art magazines.“When I look at it, I think I will never get there, but I am inspired,” Proulx says. The artist`s work can be seen at his shop/ gallery and at such local venues as Empty

Bowls and Airdrie Home and Lifestyle Show. Proulx’s children are artistic and his wife, Kelly, also an exceptional artist, displays her handcrafted pottery in his studio. “My art is like I’m creating something that I can leave for the future,” says Proulx, who supports public art and envisions a project in Airdrie that would include large wood sculptures made from the mature trees being removed from the city’s main streets, possibly with other trees growing around and through them creating a carving garden. “It would be something different for Airdrie,” he says. And Proulx is completely at home here.“I love Airdrie,” says the artist. “You know how sometimes you feel you belong somewhere? I feel like this is where I am supposed to be.” life

Happy, healthy smiles are what we do best. Nose Creek Dental provides professional general dentistry services for every member of the family. Our friendly team will make every visit an enjoyable one, for any treatment that you may require. General dentistry services are the foundation of dental care, and include your regular cleanings, examinations, and restorative procedures.

Our commitment to innovative technology means that we can transform your smile in less time and in less invasive ways than ever before. Products like Zoom! Whitening, Invisalign, and CEREC Ceramic Restorations are convenient, long lasting and safe ways that we can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. Our team of dental professionals has been bringing friendly, quality dental services to the families of Airdrie and area since 1994.

Nose Creek Dental Centre • #1-409 1st Ave NW., Airdrie, AB T4B 3E2 403-948-6684 (tel) • 403-948-6691 (fax) •

life in the




terry thorsen (right) and eric vermette jam at thorsen’s studio.

n the traditional sense of the term, when is a “band” not a “band,” and why can defining yourself as an artist be so important in a world where only one per cent get to the top? The key to success, as Airdrie musician Terry Thoresen has discovered, is to decide where the “top” really is and build your world and lifestyle around it. A little more than two years ago, Thoresen put together his first band after hearing from a lot of people around him suggesting he get out of the basement and start spreading around his unique sound and stories. Bone Cold Mama was originally formed as a three-piece group (with Trevor Alway on drums and Chris Simnett on bass), with the addition of lead guitar player Eric Vermette. The band’s name came from the name of a song that Thoresen wrote. For the band’s founder, it was important not to be known only as a cover band, a decision based on a recommendation from SLAM in Airdrie vice-president Frank Wiebe to play original work. “Kind of scary putting your own stuff out there,” Thoresen says. Yet the reception was good and soon the band was playing a few gigs and eventually a song written by Thoresen, which earned him the fan favourite award at the first SLAM On Air event. (Bone Cold Mama is now disbanded, but Thoresen’s latest project is Sloppy Joe, with former band member Vermette.)

Musician Terry Thoresen is sTory AND phoTos by KurTis KrisTiANsoN

keeping it real


| summer 2014

Smile More

New patients welcome. 403-912-9378

Thayne Blunston, DDS, General Dentist

1, 620 1st Ave NW Airdrie

life in the



The stories that Thoresen tells in his music are entertaining as well as relatable, but only make up a part of the many aspects of his music. To hear the musical artist and his band on stage, you might experience a range of country styles – bluegrass mixed with some rocka-billy, classic Southern blues peppered with a little party-rock and everything in between. Certainly you can hear George Thorogood and David Wilcox in the vocals, with a heavy musical influence by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly and Bill Bourne. Tho-


| summer 2014

resen is a natural storyteller, drawing from personal experiences and the lives of those around him, letting the emotional and sometimes gritty conditions bubble and rise to the surface. “I try to be honest ... try not to hold things back too much,” he says. “I don’t want to insult anyone when I’m writing but at the same time if you’re an artist you need to let that artistry come out; you’ve got to be real.” Of course, a great story and sound will do a lot for any band or musician but to be in control of your own success you need to create your own environment. While some bands commit to the garage jam sessions, the beer-saturated Saturday night gigs or the fake image, Thoresen simply goes back into his basement – where everything in the music business changes for him, where he takes control and maps out his road to success. Whereas some bands struggle for years to get into a studio to cut an album in hopes of making it big, Thoresen flipped that idea around and built the studio first, knowing how expensive studio sessions can be. “Why not invest that same amount of money into your own studio and do as much capturing

everything you can at home? Then you’re not on someone else’s dime,” Thoresen says. “I’m at home when I’m doing stuff, I don’t have to travel to a studio to record, I get inspiration and I can record something right away.” With that in mind, Thoresen knew that if he wanted to pursue his passion for music while maintaining his family and day job, it was going to have to be on his terms. With full support from his family, who continues to come first for him, Thoresen gets to have full control of his music – from the idea of a story right through to the production of the final tracks. There is no pressure for him to go out on the road in order to sell a million albums (although he wouldn’t say no to that) and he is not hemmed in by a record company’s idea of who he should be. What is essential for Thoresen and the other musicians with whom he works is that they get to be creative as it comes to them naturally, plain and simple. And that’s how he and his fellow musicians will continue to define themselves – as artists doing what they love to do because they know it is right. “[I’m] keeping it real, right from the heart, right from the brain, what you know … right at a grassroots level,” he says. life

‘Nuff said. Check out the Airdrie and District Agricultural Society`s 2014 events:

• Ranch Hand Competition (July 26) • Fall Fair (August 16-17) • Art of the Harvest (September 27) • Old Tyme Seeding Demonstration (April 25, 2015)

summer 2014 |


life in the


FooD Corey Wine can’t get enough of his favourite Mexican cuisine.

¡muy delicioso! sTory by Corey WiNe | phoTo by serGei belsKi

i have been looking for Mexican food in Calgary and Airdrie for more than 15 years. Mexican food is the BEST FOOD ON EARTH, and after moving here from Anaheim, Calif., I did not understand why there appeared to be no such thing. I have heard people say that we’re just too far north, but I think that’s a cop-out. We have East Indian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Italian … pretty much every ethnicity except Mexican. Even Jeff Garcia, former quarterback for the Stamps, opened a Mexican restaurant in Calgary that lasted mere months. Over the past decade-and-a-half, the popular Alberta vacation destinations seemed to be Cuba and Phoenix; that is until a couple of years ago, when I started hearing about more and more people taking their holidays in Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Cabo, Playa del Carmen and Mazatlán. Well, it is my belief that these ‘newly discovered’ destinations have spawned an outbreak of Mexican food cravings and Airdrionians are eager for more. Within the last year, we have seen the arrival of an onslaught of new and exciting Mexican food establishments. THANK YOU – Airdrie finally gets it! That is why when airdrielife publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt asked me to check out the newest Mexican restaurant additions to our city, I was totally up for the task! My first visit was to Quesadas. Wow, what a treat! I have always kept a motto: When food and drink are so good, they make you cuss, that’s a positive! Well, when I saw that Quesadas had an increíblemente enorme burrito, I knew I was in a happy place. I went with the Ancho Seasoned Pork Burrito, extra guacamole. (Avocados RULE!) Perfect combination of Ancho Seasoned Pork and rice cilantro – lime rice, black


| summer 2014

beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and salsa. My fellow gourmand went for the chili-lime shrimp burrito.“A shrimp in every bite … that’s a good thing!” was the blunt verdict! The staff was very friendly and country music hummed in the background. (After all, we are still in Alberta.) ratinG: ★ ★ ★ + Next was Costa Vida. I went for the fish tacos. You can really sum up a place by how good its fish tacos are and they nailed it! I accompanied the tacos with rice and black beans and grabbed a side of guacamole. My invitee at Costa Vida was Sherry and if you know Sherry, then you know that she went for the Mango Chicken Salad – she’s hooked! It’s what keeps her coming back and now, I will be reeled in again for more fish tacos. ratinG: ★ ★ ★ + Mucho Burrito was just that … mucho! I went for the Mucho Burrito and it was YUGE. (The cool way to say “huge” when something is HUGE!) I delved into the massive Carne Asada – rice, beans, guacamole, cilantro, jalapeno sauce, sour cream and green pepper concoction – and it took me a half-hour to eat it. The ambience had a great Tex-Mex appeal. When I go back, I have to pick up some of the HotterThan-Hell Hot Sauce. (Again, cuss words with food are a good thing!) ratinG: ★ ★ ★ Next on the agenda – Tacos Puerto Vallarta. Ay, chihuahua! We’re talking genuine Mexican cuisine, and it is exquisito! This is the closest taste of Mexico that you will find here. The restaurant is decked out in rugs and sombreros and there’s mariachi music playing in the background. I went for the Dos Tacos Carnitas (two pork tacos) and a Chorizo Quesadilla, accompanied by a Jarritos Mango Soda. It all tasted so authentic.

I closed my eyes for a minute and it felt as if I was back in Cancun … except for the heavy winter jacket I was still wearing. Tacos Puerto Vallarta is still very new and I encourage all Mexican food appreciators out there to check it out. ratinG: ★ ★ ★ ★ On to Original Joe’s. I’m a big fan of OJ’s and its diverse menu. I also love that you can pick from a choice of side orders. No more spending $2.50 for a side of gravy! I went there for the Long Beach Fish Tacos – blackened mahi mahi seared in a light chili-lime sauce, avocado, lettuce, roma tomato, green onion, cilantro (you can never, ever have too much cilantro) and the house chipotle sauce, folded into lightly grilled flour tortillas. One syllable explains this dish: mmmmmmmmmm! Go get some today, but remember, it is an 18-and-over establishment. ratinG: ★ ★ ★ + Last but not least on my radar was The Woods Restaurant at Woodside Golf Course for some Sockeye Salmon Fish Tacos! Three East Coast sockeye salmon and grilled soft flour tortillas with chipotle mayo, avocado mango relish, sweet-and-sour coleslaw, jalapeno jack cheese and a side of rice – need I say more? The pico de gallo had a nice spicy kick to it, just the way I like it. The Woods is open year round, so you don’t have to wait for the snow to melt to have a reason to go to Woodside Golf Course! ratinG: ★ ★ ★ ★ All in all, Airdrionians are pretty fortunate to have more and more Mexican food establishments popping up every year. What I will be looking for is more of a variety of Mexican food specialties that I miss, such as enchiladas, flautas, tostadas, tamales, barbacoa, chile relleno, chimichangas, huevos rancheros, machaca and chorizo burritos and empanadas. The last place I have a review for is my kitchen! The REAL secrets of authentic Mexican food have already been mentioned: plenty of avocados, refried beans, mucho cheese, pico de gallo, Mexican rice and a good cup of chopped cilantro. Give them a try and you, too, can have a table full of friends and family cussing up a storm about your food. I can’t wait to brew up my Frikken Spicy Big Balls Albondigas (Mexican meatballs) Soup! ratinG: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ¡Hasta luego! life



CIM-4236-A01F AD1 Summer Airdrie Life.indd 1

5/7/14 12:13 PM

A Name You can Trust in Real Estate! Serving Airdrie, Calgary, and Surrounding Areas Residential | Acreages | Investments 403-606-1709 403-606-0069

summer 2014 |


life in the



summer proves eventful JUne-aUGUst art in the liBrary airdrie Public library Throughout the year, Airdrie public library (Apl) plays host to local, regional and travelling art, with six exhibitions a year of approximately 70 pieces each. The summer Apl exhibit schedule includes: June: Caricatures by Kelly Gannon; July-August: AsA Travelling exhibition and TreX/Katherine Funk. JUne-sePteMBer 2014 airdirondaCK art ProJeCt Tour around Airdrie and discover 12 original works of art that just happen to be Adirondack chairs (or, as the Creative Airdrie society calls them, Airdirondacks). The chairs are auctioned off at a formal gala sept. 20 in support of the arts, where guests enjoy gourmet foods, live music and more. Details available at JUne 5-sePt. 18 Crossfield farMers MarKet Pete Knight Memorial arena (Crossfield) open Thursdays, 5:30-8 p.m., this indoor market features a variety of vendors who make, bake or grow their own products; multiple vendors with hot food and ready-to-cook items; and more (e.g. outof-province produce). New this year, enjoy weekly entertainment and demos including local artists/musicians, interactive vendors and more. JUne 4-oCt. 8 airdrie farMers MarKet Jensen Park open every Wednesday, 3:30-7 p.m. explore the market and enjoy local goods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, original quilts, handcrafted art, natural soaps and lotions, and much more. relax in the beautiful, redesigned Jensen park setting.


JUne 14 roCKy vieW rollers hoMe GaMe Pete Knight arena (Crossfield) Check out the exciting sport of flat-track roller derby as the rocky View rollers take on the Foothills roller Derby Association team. JUne 20 airdrie Beer, Wine & sPirits festival town and Country Centre Featuring more than 150 different samplesized offerings from local and international liquor reps, plus tasty treats from local food vendors. enjoy live acoustic musicians and a silent auction in support of Carter’s Quest for a Cure. 5-9 p.m. Ages 18+. Details available at JUne 21 8th annUal eMPty BoWls arts festival nose Creek Park This celebration of local talent in visual and performing arts brings the community together, enhances awareness of local hunger issues and raises funds for Airdrie Food bank. Details available at JUne 27-JUly 1 annUal airdrie Pro rodeo airdrie rodeo Grounds exciting highlights include bareback and saddlebronc riding, steer wrestling, steer riding, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. on June 27-30 the junior rodeo will start at 6 p.m., the grand entry at 6:45 p.m. and pro rodeo at 7 p.m. on July 1, the junior rodeo starts at 2 p.m., the grand entry at 2:45 p.m. and pro rodeo at 3 p.m. live entertainment will start each night after the last bull has been ridden.

| summer 2014

JUly 1 Canada day CeleBrations begin your day with the Canada Day parade starting at 10 a.m. enjoy the Airdrie pro rodeo, with events in full swing into the night. enjoy lunch at many of the local restaurants or stop by the Airdrie public library Canada Day barbecue. As the day draws to a close, head to east lake park for the family dance party starting at 9:30 p.m. till just before the fireworks are set off (approximately 10:45 p.m.). JUly 9 lUnCh on the laWn City hall An outdoor lunch-hour concert featuring local musicians, presented by slAM in Airdrie. Noon to 1 p.m. JUly 11 sUMMer readinG ClUB airdrie Public library Author visit: Jacqueline Guest. 10:30 a.m. to noon. JUly 23 lUnCh on the laWn City hall An outdoor lunch-hour concert featuring local musicians, presented by slAM in Airdrie. Noon to 1 p.m. JUly 24-27 alBerta sUMMer GaMes Airdrie welcomes more than 3,200 athletes, coaches and officials along with parents and volunteers. More than just a multi-sport competition involving athletes aged 11-17, celebrations include concerts, exhibitions, and arts and cultural events. JUly 26 airdrie aG soCiety ranCh hand CoMPetition airdrie rodeo Grounds see firsthand the cattle-handling skills used by local area ranchers and farmers. events include simulated branding; team sorting; team penning; simulated doctoring; trailer loading of cattle; and for the kids, a calf scramble. Food and beverages available for purchase. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

JUly 30 food trUCK frenZy 3.0 Plainsmen arena Many different trucks with unique dishes and soul-comforting cuisine, presented by Airdrie Farmers Market from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Note: Farmers Market will be open regular hours, 3:30-7 p.m.) aUG. 6 lUnCh on the laWn City hall An outdoor lunch-hour concert featuring local musicians, presented by slAM in Airdrie. Noon to 1 p.m. aUG. 8-10 45th annUal shoW and reUnion Pioneer acres (irricana) The museum’s main event of the year will feature virtually every piece of equipment running. Many outside exhibitors will also bring displays, equipment, crafts and much more. The 2014 feature is John Deere equipment. aUG. 9 airdrie sUMMer ClassiC Charity Car shoW & shine nose Creek Park Note: rain-out date in case of bad weather is Aug. 23. presented by the Time Traveller’s Car Club of Airdrie, this is a family event with a little bit for everyone. enjoy live retro band ronnie and the Fixations plus lots of great food vendors and the ever-popular 50/50 draws. Awards this year include best paint, best engineered, people’s Choice and the Mayor’s Choice. All proceeds are donated to local charities. spectators are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation for the food bank; each donor gets a ballot to vote for the people’s Choice Award. entry fee for show vehicles is $10. registration is from 8 a.m. to noon; show runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 403-912-0007 or e-mail

aUG. 16 CalGary PoliCe rodeo airdrie rodeo Grounds The only police rodeo in Canada, this amateur competition features contestants from all over the police community throughout Canada and the united states. bring the family and enjoy watching a full slate of rodeo events. Free on-site camping and children’s carnival. Adults will enjoy the evening barn dance with live country music entertainment. rodeo action kicks off at 1 p.m. Tickets available at gate on rodeo day. aUG. 16-17 annUal fall fair Plainsmen arena (new location) The Airdrie and District Agricultural society is pleased to host this celebration of the best Airdrie has to offer, with a variety of classes that span all ages. Categories include vegetable growing, children’s crafts, baking, fine art and photographs, and much more. Don’t miss this year’s scarecrow-decorating contest sunday 1:45-2:30 p.m. Details available at aUG. 20 lUnCh on the laWn City hall An outdoor lunch-hour concert featuring local musicians, presented by slAM in Airdrie. Noon to 1 p.m.

aUG. 22-23 4th annUal BiKes & BUlls Charity event airdrie rodeo Grounds This community fundraiser is hosted by the Airdrie oilmen’s Association, featuring a bike rally at 1 p.m. on Friday, and concerts and pro bull riding both days. Cost is $50, plus a non-perishable food item, for full weekend. Free self-contained camping on site. Details available at aUG. 23 ZoMBie CUP All ages can enjoy ‘living out’ their ‘living-dead’ dreams at this fun annual charity football game presented by Artsy Fartsy in support of Airdrie Food bank. in addition to zombies playing football, enjoy a DJ, food, raffle, silent auction, 50/50 draw, halftime performance by the Nose Creek players and an after-party. spectators are encouraged to come in zombie costume! aUG. 27 food trUCK frenZy 4.0 Plainsmen arena Many different trucks with unique dishes and soulcomforting cuisine, presented by Airdrie Farmers Market from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Note: Farmers Market will be open regular hours, 3:30-7 p.m.)


Pa irin gs

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summer 2014 |


life in the



with rob jamiEson




Carman Thiessen Financial Planner, Investment & Retirement Planning 403-462-7727

Looking for Investment & Retirement Advice? Talk to me today. Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). RMFI, RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RMFI is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec.

® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ©2011 Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. 45808 (09/2011)

Freedom is only an inch away

Cheryl Hughes

Lost 175 lbs.

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Your fork is the most powerful tool you own that can help you achieve the freedom you crave. With your SFL Food Coach: • Simple 3-5 ingredient recipes • 15 minute meals • Motivation & Accountability • More energy • Weekly meal planning for families • Check with your Benefits Provider for SFL Program Coverage with our Registered Dietitians. To Book a Complimentary Consultation, contact us at Book a free consultation Airdrie 403-948-4424 #302 Station Crossing 191 Edwards Way SW






| summer 2014




nowing that this column will be in the men’s issue of airdrielife, I’ve had a hard time coming up with a definition of what a man is. Is there one? There’s a very simple answer that involves basic anatomy, but looking a little deeper than that, there’s some bizarre uncertainty as to what it really means. A lot has changed in the past 20 years as far as what constitutes holding a ‘man-card.’ Chest hair and moustaches dominated the ’80s, tattoos illustrated the ’90s, and the millennium gave birth to ‘man-scaping.’ Does one mean more than the other when it comes to being a man? And really, who chooses? Other men? Women? I’d like to know where my application needs to be sent. The rules have changed, to the point that it’s no longer just physical appearance that proves you’re a man.

To me, a man is someone who runs successful businesses, yet makes sure he’s there for his kids every step of the way. A man is a student who while at university finds the courage to jump on social media to profess his sexual preference rather than hide it any longer. A man is a community leader who is at every event in the city, yet makes sure he makes time to visit with his friends, especially one who’s battled through major health issues. It’s taking the machismo out of the equation, and being you in whatever situation you find yourself. Parent, student, gay, straight, tall, short, whatever.“Man” is strength … but no longer what you can lift, bro. Or maybe I have it completely wrong and won’t be a true man until I know how to do more than pump gas and change a tire on my car, or watch a full season of Sons of Anarchy. To my credit, you’ll find me in front of my TV every Sunday watching football. I barbecue often. I also get together with ‘the guys’ for the occasional game of poker. Let me know when I’ve hit the benchmark. “Man” is being there, for friends or family, to move a couch or to tell a moving story. To sit on his shoulders, or to cry on them. To be a second pair of eyes or ears … just to listen. And really, why should it matter? Why, as a society, have we decided what it takes to “be a man” or to “man up”? Replace any time I’ve written “man” above with “woman” and we can come up with some amazing women who do the same. We are different, man to man, man to woman. But at the core of it all, we are all human with our feelings, mistakes and successes. I know many women to whom I’d lose an arm wrestling match – but I could beat when it comes to baking cookies. And I’m not the only one. So when reading about what cool jobs men in Airdrie have, what men we admire, what male artists and musicians make up our city, remember: they are sons, brothers, fathers and, most of all, regardless of their job, they are men. life

There are so many reasons to love living in Airdrie... we want to give you more!


Airdrie residents get reduced rates at Woodside Golf Course Save $5 on all 18 hole rounds and $2 on all 9 hole rounds with proof of residency.

Book tee-times 8 days in advance at or call 403 686 GOLF 4653


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525 Woodside Drive NW Airdrie

summer 2014 |


life in the



Meeting the Challenge sam and Marsha nichol


Kim, Michelle, sam, Marsha, tim and Peter celebrate their achievements.

he second annual airdrielifestyle Fitness Challenge really lost it this year. And by that we mean in weight! The teams that completed the challenge lost a total of 171.75 pounds. That’s incredible and we are happy to celebrate their accomplishments. The winning husband-and-wife team of sam and Marsha Nichol lost 72.25 lbs. over the 12-week challenge, which saw participants working with Simply for Life nutritionists to modify their diets and develop healthy eating habits and working out every week with personal trainers at Anytime Fitness. Congrats to our other participating teams: Michelle and Kim, who lost 48.5 lbs. in total, and honorary team Mayor Peter Brown and Tim Bolton, who lost 51 lbs. We asked the Nichols to share some of their experiences from the challenge. Q. how did the airdrielifestyle fitness Challenge change the way you eat? a. Prior to the challenge our eating habits were more focused on convenience rather than health.


| summer 2014

Our diet consisted mainly of processed foods, breads, dairy and not enough fruit and vegetables. Now, every weekend we prepare our meals for the week. This way when we don’t have the time to prepare meals, we already have them ready; all we need to do is heat them. This has definitely been a helpful improvement. Q. you have two children. how did the challenge affect your family? a. Our children have witnessed firsthand what can be accomplished through proper diet and exercise and they are very proud of us. Our energy levels have increased and allowed us the ability to spend more time playing outside with the kids. While our youngest is very open to try anything, our oldest has been a very picky eater until recently. We have been successful in having her try some different (a.k.a. healthier) choices including vegan protein powder in her smoothies. One step at a time. Q. What made you both so successful in the challenge? a. We were both at a point in our lives where we

knew we wanted change and that change had to happen for our health. We set realistic goals, knowing that the weight wouldn’t come off tomorrow, but one week at a time. Having reached our 12-week goals, we’ve now set new goals. We have both signed up for The Spartan Race and five-kilometre runs. We are committed to ourselves, our children, our trainers at Anytime Fitness and Simply for Life. Q. What was your biggest motivation to staying on track? a. Hands down, the single biggest motivator that kept us on track was seeing the results every week. Not just the numbers (pounds and inches), but our overall health improving as we progressed through the journey. Not having to rely on medications for our ailments, recurring injuries cropped up less and less. Our strength has increased and we just feel better. sam and Marsha share more insights online at Nic Lacoursiere, from Anytime Fitness who was the lead trainer for the challenge, says that Sam and Marsha succeeded because they had the right attitude. “They both worked through the challenge with injuries and illness but because they were focused they never gave up,” says Lacoursiere. “Every day they are still continuing to inspire themselves and others. I cannot wait to see what they will look and feel like this summer.” Danielle Kot from Simply for Life says that it has been an amazing experience for her team to assist the challenge participants. “We saw the participants gain self-esteem and we saw how positive change through diet and exercise can manifest into so many other aspects of their lives.. Thank you for working so hard and achieving unthinkable results in such a short time frame.” Special thank you goes to the team at Simply for Life, Danielle Kot and Kristin Gammon, and Anytime Fitness trainers Nic Lacoursiere, Jackie Cooper and Christine Lanoway. Watch for details on how you can compete in the 2015 challenge in upcoming issues of airdrielife and follow up on Facebook. life

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life in the




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| summer 2014

am a strong advocate of lifelong learning, probably because I am a lifelong learner out of a necessity that has to do with my bucket list. I recently enrolled in a women’s studies course (Women’s and Gender Studies) and I’m learning a lot. Although I’ve always believed in equal rights for women and have admired strong women in our history, I have never considered myself a feminist, I am not (very) militant, I like doing stereotypically female things and I pretty much leave the carpentering and car stuff to my husband. I’ve never been tempted to burn my bra in protest (that action is a myth, by the way); I’ve never clawed my way to the top over male counterparts (mostly because they scare me); and I still appreciate it when a gentleman holds the door for me or pulls out my chair in a restaurant. However, I think this course has changed me and that’s OK. I’ve been missing a lot all these years by not being more assertive. I usually concede to argumentative men (well, except that time I had the discussion with my son about George W.).

I’ve often been silently offended at the dismissive attitude of some older men. The ‘letthe-little-woman-do-it’ attitude makes me crazy and the more I reflect on the readings in my course, the more I realize I’ve been silently seething for too long. Something had to give. It happened at the grocery store the other day. I was loading two bags of groceries into the back seat of my car, which also held my grandson, his booster seat and backpack, so there was no room for my large bag of flour. It had to go into the trunk. That’s when the ‘older’ man in the expensive SUV, who wanted to drive through one parking spot and into mine, became frustrated because I was taking too long. He revved his engine, pulled up close to the back of my car and when I looked up at him, he gave me a little ‘move along’ wave with his hand, you know, like ‘Shoo, get out of the way.’ And that’s when I closed the trunk, pushed my shopping cart directly in front of his vehicle, got into my car and drove away. It felt great. life

summer 2014 |


life in the



It’s a word that describes our most recent makeover winner wholly – inside and out. She’s creative, fun, kind, warm and inspiring. Her name? Cheryl Todd Shergold. sTory by leslie DAVies phoTos by KrisTy reiMer



summer 2014 2014 || summer


ome of you may have met her on the pages of airdrielife as a competitor in the airdrielifestyle Challenge in 2013 – she had lost 50 pounds by the end of the 12week challenge and was so motivated she continued her new lifestyle. (By the time we met she had lost an incredible 110 lbs! Stay tuned for one of the major secrets to her transformation.) Others may know Cheryl because she’s a talented artist. There’s no denying Cheryl’s a total inspiration. And that is why we chose her as our spring makeover recipient. She’s transformed her life from head to toe – and now it’s time to transform her wardrobe! Cheryl shared that she’s a woman who adores a bargain. She gets goose bumps when she scores a deal! And I love a challenge, so our goal for this makeover? To stretch the $350 gift card from CrossIron Mills as far as we can with outstanding, fashionable finds that feed Cheryl’s casual, kicky and feminine-chic style esthetic. Cheryl’s downtime during the summer months includes exploring various music festivals and concerts with her husband – being comfortable and stylish is critical. She also shared that prior to losing the weight and transforming her body, one look she always admired on ‘thin’ women was a maxi dress and denim jacket, so this definitely was on my radar as a musthave for Cheryl. Our search took us to The Gap outlet for the jeans, maxi dress (yes, we scored!), denim jacket and striped peplum top. The Gap was a little gold mine for our shopping trip. I rolled up the dark-wash jeans (sooo flattering on Cheryl), adding a little youthful vibe that allows us to really appreciate her juicy orange sandals (from Winners).A little more visual interest was added by layering a bold-print scarf around her neck – something that can be worn with other items we purchased or tied on a tote. Keeping in mind that Cheryl loves to stretch her

dollar and wardrobe options, I used these items in several other outfits and showed her that we can accessorize and mix-and-match to create endless combinations. Winners was also a great little treasure chest for two of the dresses featured here. The lovely white lace sheath dress is the perfect backdrop for a casual look when paired with a camo jacket (found at American Eagle) and khaki gladiator sandals (Payless ShoeSource) – my favourite outfit. Cheryl can also wear it with the denim jacket, or the orange/pink scarf and orange sandals. The dress of course holds its own without any

sort of topper at all. Dressed up or down, it’s a winner (no pun intended). Cheryl loves the über-feminine silhouette of the poufy, Mad Men-inspired dress – and we were lucky enough to find one at Winners. Here we amped up the fun factor by pairing the dress with a fuchsia belt and comfy wedge heel (from Payless ShoeSource) – something that Cheryl can easily pull off with her creative and fun personality. Next stop: The Hair Lounge for a new cut and colour with Wendy, who kept Cheryl’s cropped style and added some sexy bold copper and blonde highlights to enhance

her skin tone. The key for Cheryl is to have a style that’s easy, quick to style and chic looking. Great job, Wendy! Cheryl’s makeover day included a full makeup application by Danielle Polsom with Manic Makeup. Since Cheryl has such beautiful skin, providing a perfect canvas to work with, Dani applied a Stila One Step Correct Primer. This holds the makeup in place and eliminates the need for heavy foundations. Dani’s insider tip when you apply your foundation? Blend the foundation upward on the face, which helps the skin appear lifted rather than dragging it down. Cheryl shared that she loves lots of colour – so rather than go super natural and neutral in her colour choices, Dani chose to enhance Cheryl’s eyes with shades of browns, copper and pops of purple. A touch of coral blush was applied to the apples of her cheeks, along with plum lipstick and a sweep of bronzer to give her a little sunny glow. Speaking of glow ... Cheryl is radiant from within, and I wanted to know her secret to this outstanding physical and mental transformation (and share it with you)! Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to make such an incredible shift without some serious internal changes. Cheryl attributes so much of her success to her positive mental state and attitude – made possible by being supported and involved in her daily yoga practice at the Blacksmith Yoga Community. She said that doing yoga helped both her mind and body to be strong, positive and healthy. It’s changed her life, and is so evident in the photos you see here captured by photographer Kristy Reimer. There you have it. Beauty-Full. That’s Cheryl – inside and out. life

Thank you to our spring makeover sponsors: CrossIron Mills Danielle Polsom, Manic Makeup Wendy Bates-Wiebe, The Hair Lounge Kristy Reimer, Kristy Reimer Photography Leslie Davies, IMPACT Image Essentials Group

summer 2014 2014 || summer




Carre Group The

RE/MAX Rockyview Real Estate

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12 golfers will participate in the ultimate hole-in-one shoot out Sept 14, 2014 at Woodside Golf Course. Up for grabs a mortgage valued at $1 Million from The Carre Group Rockyview RE/MAX. Join the fun by watching the shootout Sept 14 at 4 pm with a fun afternoon of golf, food, prizes and surprises. Golf professionals are not eligible. See clubhouse for complete rules and regulations.

1. PLAY A ROUND Every time you play a round of golf at Woodside this season, your name will be automatically entered to win a chance to play the Home-in-One shootout. Six players will be drawn Sept 1, 2014 2. SCORE A HOLE-IN-ONE Every golfer who scores a hole-in-one at Woodside is automatically entered to win a chance to play in the Home-in-One shootout. Six players will be drawn Sept 1, 2014




life in the

Q. how could my pet benefit from chiropractic care? a. Chiropractic care for animals is gentle, painless and effective. Chiropractic adjustments can help return misaligned vertebrae and joints back to their proper anatomical position, and in turn it can help to restore optimum nerve function to the animal. For example, when your four-legged friend has a misaligned hip or low back, it can cause various structural symptoms such as limping, weakness, trouble going up stairs, inability to jump up, arthritis, hip dysplasia and more. In turn, these misalignments can cause pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in neurological symptoms such as loss

welcome to Petlife, a new space for information on the care of our favourite furry and feathered friends. In this issue we ask Dr. Josee Gerard about chiropractic care for animals.

of bowel and bladder control, weak sciatic nerve, paralysis, constipation/diarrhea and tail lameness. Similarly, neck, shoulder or mid-back misalignments can cause such structural issues as neck pain, inability to turn the head properly, hesitancy to bring the head up for treats, jaw issues, head tilt, limping and weakness in the front, inappropriate gait pattern, trouble going down stairs, inability to jump down, loss of muscle tone, elbow dysplasia and arthritis. In turn, this can cause such neurological symptoms as difficulty chewing or swallowing, sloppy drinking, ear infections, vomiting, gnawing or biting at paws and kidney/pancreas/stomach and intestinal problems.

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There are many positive benefits that can result from properly functioning joints and nervous system, and owners seek chiropractic care for a vast number of reasons: injured pets, wellness checks for puppies to insure optimal structural integrity as they’re growing, breeds that are susceptible to hip or elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas or degenerative myelopathy. Still, others seek care for their geriatric and terminal pets, in order to give them quality of life, mobility and comfort. Dr. Gerard notes that it is important for petowners to seek traditional veterinary care first for any issues. life

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summer 2014 |

Baja Bronze Salon


life in the



Parenting can be healthy parentlife

with Vanessa Peterelli


s parents, we all know we need to commit to healthy habits, but sometimes, between juggling after-school activities, homework and our own duties at work and at home, we cheat a little. Or a lot. Trips by the fast-food window become a little too frequent. Downtime spent in front of the TV a little too common. But if we pay attention to a few common-sense concepts, we can have a huge impact on the well-being of our children. Offer healthy meals and snacks Thanks to a movement toward better eating, countless tips and recipes can be found online to help your family adopt better habits. Dr. Paul Bajor, from Access Chiropractic and Wellness, points out a few especially key points. Stay away from sugar. Avoid packed juices and chocolate milk and offer plain milk and water instead. Steer clear of processed and packaged foods and sugared cereals, and pay close attention to labels. Opt for healthier substitutes, such as honey, maple syrup or organic cane syrup (or carrots as a natural sweetener in homemade tomato sauce). Have your children eat fruits and vegetables with the skin on (e.g. carrots, apples and pears) to boost fibre intake. Do your own baking, and have fun making pancakes, smoothies, soups, dips and pasta sauce from scratch. You’ll not only have control over the ingredients, but can also use creative ways to get your children to eat things they might not readily accept. (A good blender works wonders.) Make food interesting. Dr. Bajor suggests offering breakfast – the most important meal of the day – in a glass, with a layer of yogurt (either plain or flavored but void of sucralose and aspartame), a layer of granola and a layer of fruit. Don’t forget to serve milk. Make sleep a priority Did you know that toddlers generally need 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period; preschoolers 11 to 13 hours a night; and school-aged children (five to 12 years) 10 to 11 hours? Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent in schoolaged children especially, thanks to increased demands on their time with homework, sports and other extracurricular and social activities, says Dr. Bajor. Increased interest in


| summer 2014

TV, computers and caffeine products also occurs at this age. “Kids are not getting enough sleep these days at all,” says Dr. Bajor.“How can a child concentrate in school and function during the day when they are up for gymnastics or hockey at 5 a.m. on a school day? It is simply not possible and this is not good for their health.” Get active with your children Find ways to be active with your children and the whole family will benefit. These activities don’t need to be expensive. “Throw the kids outside and ensure that you parent them!” says Dr. Bajor, encouraging family participation. Take a walk together; go to the park, play tag or kick a ball around; go hiking, rollerblading, swimming or biking; do squats in the family room or have a spontaneous dance party in your kitchen; garden together (producing healthy food for your table at the same time). You’ll find the simplest activities often make for the best memories. “Activity keeps your brain fresh. Let [children] think up games on their own and encourage them to do so,” adds Dr. Bajor. “This promotes neuron development in the brain and makes them think.” Be proactive In addition to ensuring regular visits to the doctor, dentist and optometrist, Dr. Bajor says that it’s never too early to have your child checked by a chiropractor to ensure proper nervous system function. Backpacks are a significant concern these days. According to Dr. Bajor, a pack should weigh no more than 10-15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight. Chest and waist straps are important, as is placement (two inches above the child’s waist). He suggests parents shop at sporting goods stores rather than picking cartoon-character packs of lesser quality and design. Be sure to empty your children’s backpacks regularly of any items they don’t need. “There truly is no magic to kids staying healthy. It just takes a little work,” says Dr. Bajor. “Any habit, good or bad, takes three weeks of solid effort. Create good habits by putting the time in now.” life – Rocky View County resident Vanessa Peterelli is a freelance writer and editor who has been working for Frog Media Inc. for the past six years

parent page Your guide to the programs, service and products your growing family needs! Look to these Airdrie and area experts to help you raise healthy, happy children. Did you know you can advertise your child-focused business here for as little as $18 a week?

contact today!


The Candy Shop

Access Chiropractic and Wellness

Dr. Jacqueline Boyd Dr. Paul Bajor Two locations to serve you:

Treats & gifts for all ages!!

North: 403.945.1349 (behind Superstore)

5 125 Main Street N 587.360.3749

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Located at Genesis Place 403.948.7769


*Offer is valid from June 1-30, 2014.

keeping all ages healthy through gentle chiropractic care

South: 403.945.0855

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summer contests

life in the

Go ahead, indulge ... 403.948.6331 | #6, 620 1st Avenue N.W, Airdrie, AB Book your specialty cake at least 3 months in advance in order to avoid disappointment


Finally, summer and a chance for at least 30 days of no snow! Let’s leave that incredibly bad winter/spring behind with some hot summer giveaways. GEt GroWInG with one of two $100 Blue Grass Garden Centre gift cards.

ga din i v o pr e iqu are, n fl u l ’s na ing atio duc alon o s n r r r e P ou e. int free an ienc ce is e r s t a e a a p p f ex ds nh sul lon nd laxe salo a e a s e r u n ly ba tiq ited t deep ara bou spir p a l r l men y u n u n v i f o O v s le sa vir and rth l sty il en a u u e f bold i q r ut an ou bea d tr lore n p a x and E ucts 9 nce. prod esse .909

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| summer 2014



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makE a CoFFEE DatE with one of 12 $20 Good Earth gift cards. kEEp yoUr CooL with one of 20 $10 Amato Gelato gift cards. HaVE a SUSHI SUmmEr with one of four $20 Zenbu gift cards. We give away something every week on Facebook so like us and watch for your chance to win! Or enter online at Also online: Nominate an Amazing Airdrie Woman! We are now accepting nominations for the 2015 awards program.

community life in the 53 Community Characters

50 new neighbours 52 Commitment



life in the


growing city is like a jigsaw puzzle, and the City of Airdrie’s social planning unit works with residents and community groups to help make sure the different pieces of a healthy community fit together. “On a basic level, we work with community members and groups around enhancing social capital within Airdrie,” explains social planner Robbie White. “It may be working with neighbourhood groups or social service agencies. I do it through our youth council or outreach in the schools.” Much of the social planning department’s support goes through its Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) program, which provides funding to several service organizations ranging from the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie and Big Brothers Big Sisters to Volunteer Airdrie, Airdrie & District Victim Assistance Society and Airdrie Food Bank.

The department is also responsible for undertaking research, such as this past spring’s triennial Community Needs Assessment. “Part of the City looks at structural development – putting in houses and industrial development. We’re the people side of that,” says Clay Aragon, Airdrie social planning co-ordinator. “What we do often gets mistaken as being [only] in terms of basic needs. But a big part of what we do is connecting people and places together so we have well-rounded social wellbeing in Airdrie.” This includes connections to services aimed at preventing a crisis, such as the food bank or Airdrie Meals on Wheels. This year’s civic census – expected to confirm Airdrie’s population has topped 50,000 – is key. “A term you’ll often hear about Airdrie is ‘small-town feel,’ but the reality is we’re not so small that you know everyone now,” White says. “[New residents] may not be well-connected … social capital is about who you know,

airdrie social planners robbie White (left) and Clay aragon

The People Side of Planning sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN | phoTo by serGei belsKi

Understanding the role of social planning in Airdrie


| summer 2014

do you know your neighbours … do you have someone [you know] who can help you?” According to Aragon, the Community Needs Assessment is important in understanding what services and facilities – including social, recreation and cultural – are used by residents and what they need, and the assessment ties in with work done by such other departments as economic development and planning. “Research is saying social sustainability, the sustainability of people in a community in the long term, hinges on the availability of good-quality jobs,” he notes. “Part of what we’re trying to learn from the assessment is what are the needs out there.” One challenge Airdrie faces is accessibility to provincial services, without the need to go into Calgary. “For residents who need support or help, a one-stop-shop service centre would be really ideal,” Aragon says. “Those are the pieces where we’re hoping we can advocate the government to bring some services here.” Youth is a major component of social planning and FCSS, says White, adding that a major focus in the next phase of the Airdrie Youth Strategy will be further developing the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs (formerly Hyjinx Youth Council), which is intended to give middle and high school students a voice. “Our idea in the next phase [of the strategy] is to build up the strength of the youth council and how we can connect it to the curriculum – maybe members can earn credits,” says White. “We hope to use the council as a tentpole for the strategy … a way of engaging youth in Airdrie.” The strategy has led to the creation of the Mayor for a Day Challenge, which encourages youngsters to come up with ideas to make Airdrie a better place to live. It has also promoted youth outreach, volunteerism and mentorship opportunities for youth. Aragon says that he sees Airdrie becoming more diverse by the day. “It’s a very young community,” he says. “One of the challenges is we need more resources to do more of the work we do. FCSS hasn’t received increased funding from the province … the challenge is maintaining the services we’re funding because [provincial] funding is not keeping up with population growth.” life

life in the


Summer Games

This summer is a very special one in Airdrie, as the city gears up to host the Alberta Summer Games.

On your mark

The Games, which run July 24-27, will bring to Airdrie more than 3,000 high-class athletes aged 11-17 competing in a wide variety of sports: athletics (running, jumping, and throwing), baseball, basketball, canoe/ kayak, cycling – BMX, cycling – mountain bike, football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, swimming, softball, team handball, triathlon and beach volleyball. Along with the athletes, another 12,000 people are also expected – coaches, parents, friends, spectators. But the event is much more than simply sports. It is also a chance to showcase what the community has to offer – and that includes Airdrie’s spirit of volunteerism. Pulling off an event of this size and calibre takes many, many people and many, many hours. The actual organizing of the Games has been the job of four staff members – Games manager Russell Street, co-ordinators Rob Jamieson and Dan Vano, and office manager Meaghan Kernaghan; a 15-member board chaired by Al Jones; and 80 chairpeople for various committees. These people have already put in their fair share of volunteer time, and they have a lot more to go. However, in order for the Games to run smoothly, more volunteers will be needed. “All told we need about 1,600-1,700 volunteers to do everything including food service; school supervisors for athlete accommodation; admissions; culture; Games ambassadors; reception hosts; parking attendants; registration security; photographers; and help for the various sports we are putting on,” says promotions director Dan Oneil. Even with a strong support from the community to date, organizers are hoping that there will nonetheless be enough volunteers to pull off the event with no (or at least not too many) glitches. “While we are thrilled with the response we have seen from Airdrie residents and others in volunteering, our biggest challenge will be to ensure we get the additional volunteers we need,” Jones says,“and ensure we are using them where we have the best match of our needs and their abilities.” Anyone interested in volunteering, for the whole event of even a few hours, is asked to contact Games organizers through the website at (where sponsorship packages may also be found). Volunteers are always welcome at any time leading up to the Games. “We have done some great recruiting so far and we will continue to right up to the Games,” says Michelle Carre, member of the organizing committee. life

summer 2014 |


life in the



Colombian family embraces Canadian life story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Kristy Reimer

In March 2008, Bibiana Cala, Fernando Torres and their children, Juan Pablo (now seven) and Alejandro (now 11) left their home and extended family in Bogota, Colombia, and immigrated to Canada. Torres, a project manager and business analyst specializing in oil and gas, was told by friends that he would find work in Calgary. A friend told Cala that Airdrie was a nice place for small children and Calgary was an easy commute, so they chose Airdrie to make their home.

phones her mom almost every day, and they use Facebook and Skype. Bogota, slightly larger in area than Calgary, has a population of eight million. “Last time we were there, Alejandro told me it was too noisy. He told me he is more Canadian now,” says Cala. Alejandro says: “When I’m in school or out of the house I feel mostly Canadian but when I’m at home I feel mostly Colombian and when I’m in Colombia, I feel like I belong there, too.”

Bibiana Cala, Fernando Torres and children Alejandro, 11, and Juan Pablo, 7, are happy to call Airdrie home.

Although the family left Colombia in search of job opportunities, there were other reasons for the move. “Also, (Colombia) wasn’t very secure,” says Cala, “and we wanted to know another culture and learn English.” Here, the family strives to be a part of the larger community. “We have friends from Colombia, of course, but we have friends from all over,” says Cala. And it’s easy to keep in touch with family. “We went back (to Bogota) in 2009 and 2011 and my mother has come three times,” says Cala. Torres’ parents visited once and his mother and niece will come this summer. Cala


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Juan Pablo, on the other hand, is essentially Canadian and speaks Spanish with an accent, according to his father. He loves to visit Colombia, though, and is amazed at the size of his extended family. When Alejandro arrived in kindergarten, he could already write and read Spanish and was more advanced in math. “I didn’t have to focus on reading and writing,” he says. “I just had to learn what the words meant and how to say them.” Juan Pablo says that he’s good at math, likes recess and plays soccer year round. He likes art and proudly says his grandmother is a“real artist.”

Winters are colder here, but the family has embraced winter sports. The boys snowboard and Cala wants to try cross-country skiing next winter. While they enjoy the winter sunshine, Torres says that it was initially difficult to adjust to the long hours of summer sunshine which make for long, exhausting days. For Cala, language has been the biggest challenge.“Everyone told me my English wasn’t bad but it was more my confidence. Now, I know I have an accent but I am able to talk to all kinds of people,” she says. She has sound advice for newcomers: If you find a place you want to work, volunteer. “I started as a volunteer [at Airdrie Public Library] and then I started doing small projects – they gave me the opportunity [for a job],” she says. She also joined the Airdrie Lioness Club to meet people and contribute to the community and is volunteering now with three organizations: Airdrie Public Library, Airdrie and District Agricultural Society and Fig Tree Foundation (Calgary). “I find it personally rewarding,” she says.“Volunteering is a wonderful way to help newcomers feel more at home.” Cala, who is an anthropologist with a master’s degree in sustainable tourism, started her own consulting company last year. “I decided my English was good enough and I knew enough about the culture,” she says, adding that she is currently helping to develop a strategy for the Calgary region and travels throughout Alberta. Torres is impressed with the way Airdrie is growing, but thinks that the best thing about the Airdrie/Calgary area is the proximity to nature. “We enjoy going for walks, the outdoors, and being close to the mountains,” he says. “I like that it’s relaxed. I feel better in a smaller city, much slower paced than in Bogota,” adds Cala. Cala, Torres and the two boys became Canadian citizens last year. “This is our home now,” says Torres. life

life in the



Lacrosse Lessons story and photo by Kurtis Kristianson

Sport appeals to many ages for many reasons

A peewee Rockyview Rage player (in orange) fends off a Calgary Hornet during a preseason exhibition game.


ore than 500 years ago, the sport of lacrosse was an important part of North American native culture, and it was eventually shared between the indigenous people and those just settling in the young country of Canada. In 1859, Parliament recognized the sport as the country’s official game, and in 1994 lacrosse was again recognized as Canada’s official summer sport. With a new gain in popularity in the early 2000s, enough youngsters from this area were travelling to Calgary to play that a new association was formed to take in areas north and west of Calgary – Airdrie, Cochrane and surrounding rural communities in Rocky View County. Now, 12 years later, Rockyview Lacrosse Association boasts 25 teams with players ranging in age from three (mini-tyke) to 21 (juniors), all of whom are giving Calgary some good competitive play. As minor hockey tapers off in the spring, the short but intense lacrosse season ramps up, offering secondary benefits, as well, as it is a good way to keep physically fit in hockey’s off-season. “The majority of our kids come from hockey, especially the older age groups,” says association president Debbie Sheen of the relatively low-

cost sport that requires only minimal gear.“It’s the best off-ice training for a hockey player. “A lot of our girls – we have two teams – come from ringette or hockey,” she adds. One contributor to the steady growth and popularity of lacrosse in Alberta is the inception of professional teams, such as the Calgary Roughnecks in 2001 and the Edmonton Rush in 2005. Yet there is something more. Lacrosse offers a high level of play while still being relatively low-stress. “Playing lacrosse is fun and there’s no pressure around it,” Sheen says. Lacrosse also has incentives in the form of scholarships with many schools and programs offering good money to players. Rockyview Lacrosse is proud of the association and the growth it has made, this year almost topping out with an impressive 425 registered players and giving the big city of Calgary some serious competition. “Ten years ago it was mainly a spring sport,” Sheen says,“and in the last five years it has become a 12-month sport. There are a lot of kids that play 12 months a year.” life

summer 2014 |


life in the


GiVinG bacK

Past president ian Cameron (left) and current president adrian Pruden are among the 200 association members who take pride in giving back to their community.

Airdrie Oilmen share the wealth sTory by JeFF MACKiNNoN | phoTo by serGei belsKi


an Cameron moved to Airdrie in 2003 and noticed right away the city didn’t have an oilmen’s association like other cities in the area. So, he called up some fellows he knew in Calgary through business and asked them to spread the word of a gathering he was planning to hold at the Old Hotel. On the TV in the bar that night, Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish famously ripped out Harvey the Hound’s tongue during a game against the Flames. While they were laughing at Harvey being detongued, the 42 men formed the Airdrie Oilmen’s Association. “It started as a good ol’ boys club and a chance to do some networking,” says Cameron, now the association’s past president and in his day job vice-president of Red Deer-based Quantum Petrophysics, a company that provides formation evaluation for horizontal shale plays in the oilfield. “After we had two or three events we started to get some cash in the bank. So we thought ‘What are we going to do with all this cash?’ We decided to start giving it back to local charities,” he says. Now with more than 200 members, who pay a one-time membership fee of $50, the association continues to lend financial support to many organizations through a handful of annual events, such as a golf tournament at Woodside Golf Course that draws a huge crowd. In 2013, 144 golfers took part. The golf tournament remains one of the association’s two main fundraisers. The 12th annual event will be held Sept. 19. “Last year our golf tournament was the most successful one they had at Woodside,” says current president Adrian Pruden, who is Canadian project manager at Pentagon Freight Services Canada in Calgary. Outside of the golf tournament, the Oilmen’s flagship event is the Bikes and Bulls Charity Event, which is in its fourth year and will


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take place Aug. 22-23 at the Airdrie Rodeo Grounds. Last year, it was voted event of the year by Bull Riders Canada Inc. A carnivore night dining fundraiser/networking event is planned for June, with a date still to be announced. This year’s Bikes and Bulls will feature a bike rally/poker run Aug. 22, as well as all-female Vancouver-based Led Zeppelin tribute band Zeppelina and area band Busterplush that night. Aerosmith and AC/DC tribute bands will highlight the evening of Aug. 23. There will be pro bull riding both nights and a bucking bull derby opening night where attendees can bid on bulls and have their names in the pen, similar to the Calgary Stampede’s Rangeland Derby chuckwagon tarp auction. “If we can ramp attendance up (at Bikes and Bulls) the more we can grow it and the better entertainment we can attract – and obviously it will attract higher and higher levels of donations to the charities,” Pruden says.“Also, potentially we will be able to help not just the three or four or five (groups) that we support but more Airdrie charities, as well.” Last year’s event raised more than $40,000. Among the association’s current charities are Community Links, Airdrie Food Bank and Airdrie and District Victim’s Assistance Society. The Oilmen also had enough money in 2013 to donate to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, help a local family that was strapped for cash because of a work issue and chip in $6,500 to the Airdrie Lioness Club’s Christmas hamper program. The Oilmen think very highly of Community Links, which they’ve supported since they first were able to donate. “They do amazing work,” Pruden says.“Most people have no idea what Community Links does. It’s really an impressive organization.” life for More inforMation on airdrie oilmen’s association membership and upcoming events, visit

life in the



CaM ClarK – because he helps build community As a philanthropist and business owner, Cam Clark is paving the road with good intentions. Most recently his company, Cam Clark Ford sales ltd., donated $500,000 for the rocky View schools automotive mechanics trade program. “The community has done a great job of supporting us – i think that to reciprocate is a must. it’s all about giving back to the community we’ve been a part of for 28 years,” says Clark. “We support a lot of different charities but importantly with rocky View [schools] we have a lot of youth in our community,” he adds, “and if we can help develop some seamless transitions to get these kids to post-secondary i think we will all win.”

men We admire sTory AND phoTos by CArl pATzel

Chris Bell – because he is THAT smart As a future civil engineer, 19-year-old Chris bell knows the importance of precision. The schulich school of engineering student, who just finished his first year, was one of two in the rocky View schools system to ace a final exam, receiving 100 per cent on his high school chemistry final. “i was really confident that i got a perfect grade, but of course i always took that with a grain of salt,” says the aspiring musician, who also took the university of Calgary Idol title and says he tries to be the best at what he does. “Not that being the best is my sole goal,” bell adds. “it’s just something i like to reach to because i have the ability.” summer 2014 |


life in the



looking to bring a little taste to the humble brew, outpost brewing Company brewmaster David Mozel popped the cap on the Airdrie Craft beer Club. “We’re just a bunch of guys who have a passion for a craft, flavourful beer. We’re sick and tired of the yellow carbonated water,” says the professional brewery consultant and suds instructor who guides locals through the tasty world of micro and macro beers. “Craft beer is all about using natural ingredients” Mozel says. “There are no shortscuts – it’s all very traditional brewing methods, and it’s growing rapidly.”

david MoZel – because he wants to educate us about craft beer

ennio riCCi – because he keeps his city safe


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ennio ricci may be deliberately lowkey, but as president and director of Airdrie Citizens on patrol (Cop), he and a group of dedicated volunteers are the city’s night watchmen looking to make a difference. “he’s the driving force behind [Cop], most definitely,” rCMp Const. Jason Curtis says about ricci. “As an officer on patrol, (ricci) and his co-workers are extremely helpful. No one notices them and are publicly congratulating them, but the work that they do is very impressive.” longtime resident ricci co-ordinates a group of mostly retired and semi-retired volunteers who patrol our growing city at night in an undercover capacity. “The bigger the city gets the more everything comes along with that, including violence, crime, drugs and everything else,” says ricci.

Kristy reiMer Photo

fred BUrley and Kelly heGG – because they are committed to their city

As one of the longest-sitting city council members, Kelly hegg has a zeal for making Airdrie a better place to live. “it’s a passion for the city and everything it stands for and being able to feel like you have something to contribute,” says hegg, who has served on council since 2004 and has called Airdrie home for 18 years. “part of it is trying to guide that growth and keep that small-town feel and [the] big-city opportunities we’ve all come to know and love about Airdrie.” serving his fifth term on city council, Fred burley displays the same enthusiasm through his involvement with municipal government and committee volunteerism. “i love to give back. This is the best city i’ve ever been in and i love living here and helping out,” says burley, a councilman since 2002. “it’s a challenge, but 99 per cent of our citizens help us out. We have an amazing staff. They make us look good.”

Javier orteGa – because he’s undefeated The minute Javier ortega walked into bellegarde’s Dragon Muay Thai & Kickboxing training hall he knew the martial art was going to be a significant part of his life. “When i saw the punching bags and people training i knew that was something i wanted to do,” says the 22-year-old undefeated Muay Thai competitor who earned a TKo in his first amateur fight. “Muay Thai has really been important for my life,” ortega adds. “it calms me down a lot and takes a lot of my negative anger out of me for what i’ve been going through in my life.” summer 2014 |


life in the



Jeff laWrenCe – because he believes men can be better men

As Western Canada regional co-ordinator for Men’s Division international (MDi), Jeff lawrence uses mentorship, open dialogue, workshops and a code of honour to help mould men into better people. “it’s a place where men can get some clarity, some accountability, get some support and some leadership training. it’s not religious, it’s not political and we’re not telling you what you need to do in your life. We’re not giving advice; what we do instead is try to learn from each other’s mistakes,” says lawrence, who includes a dozen locals in the group. “This is all about making you a better husband, a better father, a better employer and better employee – the four phases of men,” he adds.

With nearly 35 years involvement under his belt, Ken Kindrachuk has guided Airdrie Judo Club as instructor, referee and past club president. “i’ve just enjoyed working with the kids and have enjoyed the sport,” says Kindrachuk, who has passed on martial arts and life knowledge to an estimated 2,000-plus students. “i’ve been to a couple of weddings and i’ve seen some (former students) train at the national camp in Montreal. it’s nice to see them grow up.”

Ken KindraChUK – because he has a black belt in life


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Mark lorenz is a little bit country with a lot of heart. The local country recording artist makes as much noise on the stage as he does giving back while performing at local charity events. “paying it forward, i hope that one good deed a day can make the world a better place,” says the western singer.

MarK lorenZ – because he sings for everyone’s supper

Displaying a flair for teaching, r.J. hawkey elementary school visual and performance arts instructor Kevin Mcevoy uses flamboyant characters to get his narrative message across. “Kids have to be interested in reading and literature,” says Mcevoy, who reads to his Grade 4 students during spare time. “i put in accents and voices for all the characters. it’s tough to appeal to all of them, but if you can be entertaining that’s certainly half the battle.”

Kevin MCevoy – because he makes learning fun summer 2014 |


life in the



seeing a little bit of himself in his charges, boys and Girls Club of Airdrie volunteer co-ordinator, program innovator and youth leader Mitchell George is on a quest to support youth in the community. “Their minds are like renewable resources. They are teaching me almost as much as i’m able to teach them. it’s a ‘give forward and get back’ relationship with these guys and i wouldn’t give it up for the world,” says George. “i felt it was my duty to give back to the kids and people in my community. This was the perfect job for this.”

MitChell GeorGe – because teens can relate to him

With a combined 60-plus years in the restaurant industry, Al Cranston and paco osuna are waiters with style. you’d think a love of food was their top priority, but for these extraordinary peppercorns servers, their customers come first. “i like to deal with people. i’d go crazy and i just cannot stay home,” says osuna, who began his food journey working at the 1967 Montreal expo. Fellow wine pourer Cranston agrees. “every day is a different day. you see new people every day,” he says. “i don’t think i could work in an office.”

al Cranston and PaCo osUna – because they epitomize service


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home life at 62 slip slidin’ Away

60 Bright future 64 heart of the City

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learning environment Airdrie high school students show their enthusiasm for the hands-on Building Futures program.

story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Kristy Reimer

Students build for future


uilding Futures, a groundbreaking partnership between Rocky View Schools and McKee Homes, accommodates students in a workplace learning environment while completing academic requirements in the onsite classroom. The project is the brainchild of two George McDougall High School teachers, Jarett Hooper and Greg Rankin, who approached principal Ed Polhill and McKee Homes president Elaine McKee-Doel in April 2013 with a plan to build houses with a group of students. Polhill and McKee-Doel agreed and the first class of 32 Grade 10 students began in September 2013. Two homes were completed in Reunion this past school year. “The first house was up and roughed in for plumbing, heating and electrical because we needed to have the classroom ready. The second house was nothing. [The students] learned how to do surveying, cribbing and excavation; everything from the very beginning,” says McKee-Doel. Students are onsite from Monday to Thursday and return to George McDougall Fridays for physical education. Trade partners explain their jobs each morning, then students physically start doing the work. A long list of trades and sub-trades works with the program participants. “I enjoy watching the students interact,” says Sheri Reed, construction superintendent with McKee Homes. “Their enthusiasm is contagious. I have seen kids not wanting to put down what they are doing to catch the bus home. That’s awesome.”


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Safety is a main consideration, so the students do not work on the roof. “Occupational Health and Safety endorsed the program and we have a safety plan for the site that the kids are required to follow,” says McKee-Doel. Building relationships with professionals and fellow students in the workplace is also an important ‘real-world’ skill.“The program resonates in its unique way of meeting the needs of the students,” the principal says. Following on the initial success, in September 2014 another 32 Grade 10 students from George McDougall, Bert Church and the new W.H. Croxford High School will build houses in another Airdrie neighbourhood. Bow Valley High School in Cochrane is also interested in the program. Upon completion, students receive a Residential Construction Site Manager Level 1 certificate, thanks to curriculum provided by the Professional Home Builders of Alberta. Alberta New Home Warranty donated the warranty for the two houses as part of the program and Hopewell endorsed the program by supporting it in its community and providing marketing support, while SAIT is helping with the construction of a garage. Building Futures meets the ‘Inspiring Education’ vision Alberta Education has for flexibility in high school programming. “The value of the program is immeasurable,” says Polhill.“Academics combined with practical experience is how it works in the real world.” life

life in the



Firefighter Dean Traff enjoys a distinctive method of getting around his house by KurTis KrisTiANsoN

Firefighter Dean Traff and wife sherisse got the idea for a fire pole while watching the homebuilder video of their potential new home. They saw the open space leading from the entertainment room to the office and thought, “That’s where a fire pole should go.” The decision was made and suggested to the homebuilder immediately. having two young children in the home, safety was a priority when designing the pole setup. An engineered steel railing with woodgrained look was created by Memories in Metal and the brass outer tubes for the pole were brought in from spokane, Wash. A self-closing gate swings shut behind the person descending the pole and there is a childproof lock on it when not open. The pole gets a lot of use by both of the Traffs, and their friends love it. The initial reaction is a laugh, but most people think it’s cool – after all, it’s in a firefighter’s home – and the couple concedes that they are young at heart and love their unique addition. life


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NeIGhBoURhooD faith and reagan Wood love the large lot size of their old town home.

Making New Memories in Old Town sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN | phoTo by CArl pATzel


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ll of his life, Reagan Wood has never lived too far from Old Town, one of Airdrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Focused around the intersection of Main Street and First Avenue N, closely intertwined with neighbouring The Village, and extending west to Fletcher Park, Old Town is truly the heart of the city. “I think for most people, the biggest draw is the lot size,” says Wood, who moved into his home on Fifth Avenue in 1996, only a few blocks from where he grew up. Originally an 1,100-square-foot bungalow, the home was expanded years ago to close to 2,000 sq. ft., he explains. “You can’t get an RV onto a lot of lots these days, but I’ve got [room for] that and a twocar garage. Today’s [lot] standards can be extremely small.” Couple that with close proximity to Fletcher Park and its BMX course, and the shops on and around Main Street, as well as the mature trees, and it’s easy to see why Wood, who does maintenance work with Shaw Cable, continues to call Old Town home. Even folks who no longer live in the area retain fond memories of Old Town. Back in 1958, when housepainter Trent La Marsh’s parents built in the area, their home was around the corner from a horseracing track. “I’ve got lots of memories as a kid – we would go down to Nose Creek to raft and hunt frogs,” Lamarsh recalls. “Where the hotel got taken down [at Main Street and Centre Avenue], that used to be the last street and there was a dirt road down to the dump.” Old Town and The Village merged about five years ago, says Larry Skaalrud, president of the Airdrie Village Community Association. “We are the original old Airdrie,” Skaalrud says. “And living here still gives you the little village feeling.” Skaalrud echoes Wood in citing big lots as a major selling feature for the community, along with the character that comes from long history.“You’re not in a sterile environment,” he says, although he adds that a mature community does face some challenges, such as traffic issues, and that the association is working with the City of Airdrie to try to get a playground installed for children under age five. “I knew Airdrie when it was only about 400 people,” says Skaalrud. “It was only 9,000 when I moved back here in 1996. This is an exciting place to live.” life


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bUILt For aIrDrIE


ReidBuilt homes

he home-buying experience may not be paved with gold, but ReidBuilt Homes is striving to make it a road to happiness. During the company’s nearly 20-year stay in Airdrie, ReidBuilt Homes – named first runner-up for 2013 Builder of the Year – has constructed close to 500 homes. Apart from having a presence in Canals Landing and King’s Heights, the company is currently building a showhome in Bayside Estates. The small company focuses on combining attractive homes with such community amenities as green spaces, walking paths and ponds. “We are proud to team up with development partners [who] value the same ideals as us by creating communities that include ample green space, sports fields and walking paths on top of just a place to own a home. After all, is it not all about living?” says Dave Abbey, ReidBuilt’s Alberta general sales and marketing manager. With roots throughout the province, ReidBuilt Homes has adopted a customer-first attitude using a five-stage process, starting with initial sales and then involvement through preconstruction, construction and warranty stages. The fifth stage is assuring the contentment of homeowners on their road to happiness.


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sTory AND phoTo by CArl pATzel

The company’s customer-first philosophy is simple. “Each homeowner is involved directly, from the initial sale, design, construction and ultimately taking possession of [their] new home,” says Abbey. ReidBuilt’s lineup includes more than 35 style packages with themes from a timeless Colonial dark-oak look to a classic warm European feel to a contemporary design highlighting modern trends with a personal touch. The Canals Landing showhome, The Normandy, is a 2,549-square-foot construction featuring high vaulted ceilings, plus large den and bonus retreat areas. As for neighbourhoods as a whole, King’s Heights – a premium master-planned development – envelops park and green-space development. Built adjacent to an expanding commercial district, King’s Heights also offers easy access to Highway 2, CrossIron Mills mall and Calgary. “With its close proximity to Calgary, Airdrie has always been progressive when it comes to growth while maintaining its residents’ core family values and ideas of what it takes to create community,” says Abbey. “These are the ... beliefs that ReidBuilt Homes holds in the same regard and with our deep roots in Airdrie. “We hope to be part of it for many years to come,” he adds. life

He wants a home with big city


She wants a home with small-town


Welcome to Rivairo Easy to get to...hard to leave! Rivairo Townhome Condominiums in Bayside combine the luxury of big city living with the quaint, cozy comfort of a small-town community. It’s a welcome change to the traditional look of the community. Bold stucco and stone exteriors, stunning landscapes and exclusive faciltities.

14 ft floor-to-ceiling marble fireplaces, quartz countertops, imported porcelain tile, engineered flooring and 2 car garages

Row townhomes from the low $300,000s

Presentation Centre 1530 Bayside Avenue Hours: Mon. - Thurs. 2 pm - 8 pm Closed Fridays Sat. - Sun. 12 pm - 5 pm67 summer 2014 |


Chic living A comes to Airdrie

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sTory by JeFF MACKiNNoN | phoTo by serGei belsKi

rivairo sales manager Paul Walsh is proud of his company’s unique offerings.


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mere minute or two after Rivairo sales manager Paul Walsh opens the door to the presentation centre on this cloudy, chilled Tuesday afternoon, a young family planning a move from Mississauga, Ont., to Alberta is through the door. Right away Mom and Dad begin marvelling at the design and pricing of the Rivairo residential development. Their young daughter occupies herself by climbing the sample of the floating stairs that each unit will feature. “I was in one in Toronto that was very similar to this a couple of weeks ago and the finishings weren’t as nice and [it was] $700,000,” says the young father. “We’re very interested in yours.” Interest is indeed very high in one of Airdrie’s newest townhome communities, which is located on Bayview Avenue and has 169 total units in both row and stacked options. As of early April, Walsh says, 64 units had been sold. “What we’re trying to sell is a modern, chic look for Airdrie,” he says.“As you can see, we don’t have any vinyl siding at all on our whole project. I dare people to find me any place in Airdrie like this. I’ll buy them lunch and dinner if they do. “It’s very contemporary and it’s very open (concept),” Walsh adds. The stacked units occupy two buildings and range anywhere from 1,150 square feet to just shy of 1,800 sq. ft. with underground parking. Back in the spring they were priced from $258,000 to $301,000. The other 19 buildings have from four to 11 units per building, with each in the neighbourhhood of 1,300 sq. ft. These have double attached garages with a deck above the garage and a cost of $296,000 to $315,000. The project belongs to Saskatoon-based Kolisnek Development Group, operated by former Fort McMurray home builder Kurt Kolisnek. Among the company’s other projects is a 75,000-sq.-ft. office tower in Saskatoon. “Airdrie is a very beautiful, expanding, nice community,” Kolisnek says. “Everywhere I go in Airdrie I’m quite impressed. “We like the small-town kind of living ourselves,” he adds, “so we go after projects (thinking) that if it’s good for us it will be good for others.” Kolisnek agrees that the company’s goal is to create residences that aren’t like others. “Most people don’t want what everyone else has, they desire something different,” he says. “We’re certainly happy that we created something different, but it’s not off-the-wall crazy modern. It’s Airdrie with a modern twist.” life

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summer 2014 |


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The Vesta


| summer 2014

Vesta Properties Ltd. doesn’t build homes, it builds communities.

Advantage story and photoS by Carl Patzel

Producing homes across Alberta as well as in B.C., the veteran company put a foot through Airdrie’s door more than 15 years ago, leaving its mark on such communities as Luxstone and Sagewood. But Vesta’s tour de force so far has been the master-planned community of Williamstown, a mix of townhouses, beginner/starter homes and family-sized 2,600-square-foot offerings built in and around a spectacular green space. “The nice thing with Williamstown is we can hit multiple targets within the marketplace and offer a great community with one nice look,” says Vesta’s Alberta sales manager, A.J. van der Linden. Selecting a home comes down to more than just square footage, though, and Vesta puts just as much thought into designing a community as it does a floor plan. Neighbourhood, community and lifestyle were all incorporated in the development of Williamstown, which to date counts more than 1,200 homes in the Greenway, Bridges, Trails and Horizons districts. “The site when we purchased it had Nose Creek running through [it], so part of the architecture of the community we really focused on bringing that green space [in],” van der Linden says of the 60 acres of creek and marshland criss-crossed with walking paths and bridges. Unique to many newly developed neighbourhoods, Williamstown alleviated the need to build up park and water areas. “That’s the great thing about Airdrie – we are just really tying in with Airdrie’s philosophy with having the larger green spaces and walking paths throughout the entire city,” says van der Linden.“We’re just helping out on that side of things, as well.” With close to 80 per cent sold out and phase seven, with another 120 townhouses, having begun in the spring, Vesta is focusing on other projects in the expanding Airdrie housing market. The company recently purchased lots in Cooper’s Crossing from fellow developer Westmark, and is building 1,600-sq.-ft condos and townhouses in Waterscape, as well as rear-garage homes that will offer upgraded finishing and reach the 2,000-sq.-ft. mark. “We are going full steam ahead and are one of the largest landowners in Airdrie right now. We have another project pretty much the same size as Williamstown starting within the next 12 to 18 months,” says van der Linden. life

summer 2014 |


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Airdrie Paint & Decor lifestyles

with tina mcmillan, c.i.D.

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Why is the sky blue?

Light and colour – you can’t have one without the other. For us to actually “see” an object’s colour depends on the type of light that is sent to our eyes. A rainbow features the wavelengths of the visible spectrum of light known as ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). According to the Pantone Colour Institute, each colour is defined by the unique distance and speed it can travel. So, why is the sky blue? Janice Lindsay (my colour mentor) explains that as the wavelengths of colour race toward us from the sun at the speed of light, they are confronted by the earth’s atmosphere filled with obstacles of floating particles – dust, dirt, pollutants and water molecules. Longer wavelengths, such as yellows and reds, find it easier to avoid these hurdles because they move forward with long strides. Short wavelengths, such as blue, have to run quickly to catch up. Since the blues are moving more frantically, they are more likely to hit something and get thrown off course. This ‘scattering’ results in a sky we see as blue. Did you know?

There is a term that describes the phenomenon of loving your friend’s wall colour and being disappointed when you paint it on your own wall. This is “metamerism” and refers to how colours seem to change when seen under different light conditions. Some colours that are more affected by this are: grey, taupe, greyblue, grey-green, lavender and mauve. Always check your paint sample in the room where it is to be painted, over a 24-hour period, so you can see how the light conditions change its appearance.

How can we help you buy or sell your home? Call us!

Did you also know?

Light exposure will transform the colour on your walls! North adds a blue hue; south adds a yellowwhite hue; east adds a green hue; and west adds an orange hue. life

540 2nd Ave Airdrie T4B 2C2 | 403.948.5900| 403.948.1411 Each ofce is independently owned and operated


| summer 2014

Proud Sponsor

– Tina McMillan (a.k.a. The Decorating Diva) is a local interior designer who has called Airdrie home for the past eight years


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welcome to tradeslife, where we ask the Airdrie-area pros to give us solid advice on our home and business building projects. They are very effective for any standing bodies of water that may be promoting mosquito breeding. Bt is a biological insecticide that is non-toxic to humans, pets and birds. Developed right here in the Calgary area, MoziQ is a safe and natural product that is ingested. Citronella plants may provide some relief but they are most effective if the leaves are crushed.The new citronella-based patches can also be effective for yardwork, golfing or most other outdoor activities.

When should a second lawn food be applied?

This issue we ask lisa silva from blue Grass Nursery a few questions. how can i keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay? A garlic-based spray called Mosquito Barrier is very effective at keeping the pests away for extended periods. It is great to use before a barbecue or outdoor party and yes, it does smell when you first spray it but it dissipates very quickly. Use it as a fog on the grass and shrubs where the mosquitoes tend to rest. It is completely safe for humans, pets and birds. Mosquito dunks are a form of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that will attack the mosquito in larval form.

Even slow-release lawn foods usually last a maximum of six to eight weeks and if there has been lots of rain, it may be less. Lawns will start to look pale and less vigorous in early summer so they should be fertilized again at this point. Choose a good lawn food that has a higher nitrogen content and a slow-release formula, as this will produce a more consistent nutrient release. The lawn should stay a deep green colour all summer after a second application.

leaf yellowing or drop is not usually serious unless the cause is too little or too much water. How do you tell what might be the cause of the wilting? Firstly, do not rely on rain to water your newly planted material. It will not be enough! Consider using a treewatering bag. For at least the first few weeks, when summer planting, the material must be watered daily and sometimes even twice in extreme heat and wind. It is also important to note the consistency of the soil when planting. Sandy soil will not retain moisture, so you will have to water more frequently. Heavier clay soil will hold more moisture but may also smother the new roots. Use a root booster such as Myke, transplanter or bone meal when you plant, and amend any problematic soil with peat moss or clay breaker, depending on the soil type. life

Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre Nurseries •Sod Farms • Garden Centres Trees • Shrubs • Perennials • Annuals • Soils • Mulches Gravels • Decorative Rock • Sand • Flagstone • Boulders Delivery Services • Tree Planting Services • Firewood Rainbow Play Systems • Expert Advice and more!


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summer 2014 |



King’s Heights featuring Innova�ons by Jayman and Shane Homes

Waterscape at Cooper’s Crossing


| summer 2014

work life at 77 engaging endeavours

80 Useful Partnership 82 aiM for Greatness

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Community benefits


hen the 2014 Alberta Summer Games arrive in Airdrie this July, so will hundreds of young athletes who will have an experience they may remember the rest of their lives. I know, because as a kid I was fortunate to participate in several summer and winter games. And I still have many fond memories of the people I met, the experiences I had and the great volunteers and host communities. Not only will the Games leave a lasting impression on the athletes, but they will also leave a lasting impression on our community. It has been estimated that Airdrie

will see an economic impact of more than $3 million through expenditures in hotels, restaurants and local shopping. It’s not just the athletes who will get to experience Airdrie’s state-of-the-art sport venues, arts and cultural activities, and welcoming volunteers. Their coaches, parents, families and friends will see firsthand the fantastic facilities, people and environment that make Airdrie a great place to live, work, play, shop and visit. While the positive economic impact and the heightened public profile are important benefits to our local businesses and the community as a whole, there are many other benefits Airdrie will see in hosting these Games.

In order to host a sporting event of this nature, Airdrie was required to upgrade and, in some cases, build new sporting facilities in the community. Upgrades to facilities – such as the new volleyball courts built at Chinook Wind Park – will be enjoyed by our residents for many years to come, long after the Games leave our city. The Games will also leave a legacy of community spirit, pride and volunteerism. The ‘buzz’ in Airdrie about the Games is only getting stronger as the date draws closer. Hundreds of volunteers have spent countless hours preparing for the event – organizing fundraisers, finding accommodations for the athletes, co-ordinating meals for their stay and much, much more. And hundreds more volunteers will help out during the Games, ensuring they run smoothly. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community and without them such events as the Games would never happen. Volunteers are the ones who will leave a lasting impression on our visitors – their welcoming smiles, encouraging cheers and helpful attitudes will be remembered. They epitomize community spirit and pride and are what make Airdrie a great community. We should be very proud of the people in our community who had the vision to host these Games (and the many other fantastic events we see in Airdrie) and for all the benefits they bring our city. Airdrie is continuing to get a great reputation across Western Canada as a place to hold arts, culture and sporting events and festivals. The 2014 Alberta Summer Games will no doubt be a huge success and will leave a lasting impression on the athletes, coaches, parents, volunteers and the community as a whole. Congratulations to all those involved and good luck to all of the athletes. life – Kent rupert is team leader with Airdrie economic Development


| summer 2014


Work, work, work….

Photo courtesy of Wes David

life at

cool jobs

Wes David

Airdrie offers a wide variety of careers, from hunting, fishing and getting paid for it to keeping the power flowing. These folks have some of the coolest jobs in Airdrie. story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photos by Sergei Belski

Wes David, Host, Canadian Outdoorsman TV Wes David is living the dream – engaging in his love of hunting, fishing and conservation and getting paid to write about it for Canadian Outdoorsman magazine and co-hosting its newly launched online spinoff, Canadian Outdoorsman TV. “A lot of people don’t realize hunters and anglers are probably some of the best conservationists you’ll meet,” says David, who grew up in Beiseker and moved to Airdrie 11 years ago. “We put back our own money, time, effort into thousands of conservation efforts throughout Canada. And [writing about it] is how I can give back and educate.”

David founded the Airdrie Hunting and Fishing Association five years ago, and says that the lifestyle attracts not just farm kids but city folks, too. After writing about hunting and fishing for years, the outdoorsman is now learning the craft of putting together a TV show. “I wanted to break into filming,” David says. “Fishing is easier to film than hunting because the animals don’t always come out at the right time! I’m packing a lot of camera gear. “I only show about 12 minutes of actual hunting and fishing [per episode] … the rest is culture and history of the area, or it might be conservation-related,” he adds.

Chris Bergman, Owner, Explosive Edge Chris Bergman was a championship-level minor hockey player in his native Manitoba before coming to Alberta to pass on his skills to young people here. As owner of Explosive Edge, a sports training business, Bergman is also in charge of goalie development. His 2,400-square-foot facility features a mini-rink with synthetic ice where athletes can practise shooting and protecting goals. “My joy comes from the kids’ success,” says Bergman, who took over as owner last December and also hosts basketball and baseball programs, as well as “Explosive Kids” programs for children as young as two.“When we opened

summer 2014 |


life at


cool jobs

Chris Bergman

up to two- [to] four-year-olds,” he says, “to see the light in their eyes when they’re learning to skate for the first time is quite amazing.” Explosive Edge attracts athletes from Calgary, but also works with many in the growing Airdrie sporting community, especially in the off-season when players need to keep training to keep up their skills. “Airdrie has such a passion for youth programming, it seems to be a very good fit,” Bergman says.“With the goalie development … I hate to see everyone have to drive [to Calgary] all the time when we can have something local going on.”

Kevan Geisheimer, Lead Power Line Technician, FortisAlberta

Kevan Geisheimer


| summer 2014

From Balzac to Acme, if work needs to be done on a power line, Kevan Geisheimer is on the case. As a lead power line technician with FortisAlberta, Geisheimer supervises a team of four who head out into the field to work on live power lines, either for construction and maintenance or to address such issues as outages. “My dad was a lineman in Kelowna, and I think it’s a great job,” says Geisheimer, who trained at NAIT and has been with Fortis full time for five years after starting out as a contractor. “My favourite part is in the field, live-line work. It’s dealing with the high voltage … and keeping the customers on without power outages.” From his base in Airdrie, Geisheimer is sent across Rocky View County to work on power lines, and is called in when a snowstorm, motor vehicle crash, lightning strike or other event causes the lights to go off. “I like to know I’m helping to keep people’s power on as we’re getting the job done,” he says, noting that the public often confuses Fortis – which builds and maintains power lines – with such electricity providers as Enmax or Epcor. “I love working for Fortis … being able to go out and work with your hands every day and try something new,” Geisheimer says. life

life at




tarting a small business is a bit like walking a tightrope. You need to keep many things in balance and if that balance is disrupted, over you go – with no guarantee of a net below. SMARTstart, a new business-education program spearheaded by members of the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership (ABRP), offers newly minted entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced business owners. Earlier this year, the 20 participating entrepreneurs – some with businesses recently up and running, others still in the process of launching – and 15 mentors were matched up by SMARTstart organizers via the business equivalent of ‘speed dating.’ Business people from diverse backgrounds and industries were paired up – but that’s OK as they all speak the same language. For example, Jody Funk, owner of Daystar Mechanical Plumbing and Heating, was paired with Ryan Beaudoin, who is hoping to establish a business in the growing field of aquaponics. “I looked at it as a learning experience for me,” says Funk.“I know nothing about aquaponics, but the fundamentals of business don’t change from business to business. I’ve been at this for 14 years and, as a tradesperson, I know how hard it can be to run a business.” Beaudoin, whose business concept is so new he doesn’t even have a name for it, says that learning about the SMARTstart program inspired him to give his idea a try.

“[Aquaponics] is a closed-loop system where you use fish waste for [feeding] plants,” he explains, adding that after having cut his teeth on growing organic vegetables he hopes to start growing tomatoes and lettuce aquaponically and eventually get to the point where he can build a large greenhouse-style facility. “I figured what better resource than to lean on people who have been there and done that?” Beaudoin says of signing up for SMARTstart.“I’ve never had a huge passion before, and growing food and the quality of our food and environment has really gotten me passionate about making a change. “I’d like to walk away with the knowledge of how to do a business plan, how to do networking,” he adds. For Funk, he hopes to provide Beaudoin with tricks of the trade, and he’d have loved to have had access to such a program when he was starting out. “I’ve had my mentors help me along the way, and if I picked up something I hope I can pass it along,” he says. “I might not be able to tell you what to do, but I can tell you what hasn’t worked for me.” SMARTstart, which runs from March to October, combines seminars and mentoring opportunities with online programs utilizing GoForth Institute’s 100 Essential Small Business Skills program. After 15 years in the telecommunications industry, Pauline Allen started her own business, Kasdon Enterprises, last fall, offering telecom solutions in such areas as business phone lines, hardware, cloud migration and IT consulting.

entrepreneur Pauline allen (left) with mentor lynn Kehoe, owner of Cream Body & Bath

Local entrepreneurs get a leg up with area mentors

Making a smart start sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN | phoTos by serGei belsKi


| summer 2014

Mentor and daystar Mechanical owner Jody funk (left) and entrepreneur ryan Beaudoin

“For those 15 years or so, I was a commissioned salesperson, so in a way I was my own business,” Allen says. “And I had been a single mom for many years and you have to pay bills, the mortgage … I was cautiously aggressive about how much risk I took.” But Allen knew she needed guidance on officially starting a solo business, so she attended a Business After Hours event and learned about SMARTstart – and the statistic that 70 per cent of small businesses fail within the first few years. Allen was paired with Lynn Kehoe, owner of Cream Body & Bath, who has more than eight years of retail business experience. “I thought this would be a learning experience for me, too,” Kehoe says.“Someone starting a business has a lot of fresh ideas and makes you rethink your own business. I think [Pauline] has a lot of great ideas and the right attitude to start a business.” Adds Allen: “I’ve already made some changes to my business [since meeting Lynn] … and she’s validated some of my decisions and she’s making me just really think. She’s become someone I can talk to.” A key to SMARTstart is that it’s not a shortterm program – participants are in for the entire March-to-October run, says Leona Esau, with economic development at the City of Airdrie, an ABRP partner alongside Community Futures Centre West and Airdrie Chamber of Commerce. “We recognize people can’t do this in a compressed time frame,” Esau says. “Of all the projects I’ve worked on, this one I find the most energizing. We’re working with people with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and we’re helping them get the resources they need to be successful.” Esau says that interest is already being shown for a 2015 edition of the program, although the hunt is on for sponsorship, as the initial provincial seed money that helped fund it in 2014 won’t be available. life for More inforMation about Smartstart, including sponsorship opportunities, visit

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(yes, we did that for alliteration)



I.T. PROVIDER 501a - 43 East Lake Crescent, Airdrie AB, 403-456-2009

summer 2014 |


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Global Reach

Taking AIM at the future story by Alex Frazer-Harrison photo by Sergei Belski

hat little plastic cup inserted into a machine to make coffee. That plastic cage covering a roof vent to keep birds out. That plastic bag a tool comes in. All these things have to be made somewhere, and there’s a good chance they came from Alta Innovative Manufacturing (AIM), which recently moved its headquarters from Calgary to Airdrie. If something can be moulded into a tool or an accessory, AIM can do it. “It’s a family operation and once we move all our operations into one [Airdrie] location, this will become one of the largest plastic manufacturing companies in Canada,” says operations manager Joel Darichuk,



| summer 2014

who runs the business with brothers Brett (operations manager), Kevin (logistics manager) and Robyn (general manager of the M Pak Plastics division), plus dad Gerry (president). AIM recently relocated to a purpose-built facility of more than 100,000 square feet off Kingsview Boulevard, which is to house all of its manufacturing, moulding and research-and-development operations. “It’s a big jump, and was to accommodate and grow as demand for manufacturing comes back into the Western Canadian and Alberta market,” says Darichuk. AIM has several divisions that promote and support innovative ideas and come up with a workable design; create the steel tools (or moulds)

the darichuks – (left to right) robyn, Joel, Brett and Kevin (dad Gerry not pictured) – aiM high with their family business.

WatCh the airdrienoW tv special feature on alberta Injection moldings on or

needed to manufacture the item; pump resin or other materials into those moulds; and ultimately create a final product that can be marketed worldwide. Its M Pak Plastics division manufactures packaging. “Our engineering department is basically where the ideas start,” says Darichuk, adding that nearly every idea that comes through AIM’s doors has a story behind it. “It could be an engineering firm, or a lady who’s got a drawing on a napkin. We vet the project like a mini Dragons’ Den.”

According to Darichuk, 3-D printing lets AIM bring a prototype to life – including work for clients as varied as a SAIT welder with an idea for an improved tool, the Canadian military and Homeland Security. The company’s Alta Machining & Mold Design division creates the steel tool used as an injection mould for the plastic. “Everything from a foam cover or a new type of knob for a car – all these things have to come out of a mould,” says Darichuk. These tools can be huge – up to 25,000 pounds, he says, likening tooland-die-makers to gunsmiths or clockmakers. “They’re more like artists.” Alta Injection Molding then takes the tool and – running 24 hours a day and producing a half-million pounds of plastic a month – the plant uses engineered resins and different types of rubber to make a product a reality. This, Darichuk says, is where many companies might otherwise outsource the work overseas. “Our facility was designed to hold and keep manufacturing local,” he says. “When a project gets big, someone might take it to China, but we call [AIM] a mini-China; we can get all the designing done, the tools made, all here.” At the same time, he says, AIM prides itself on sustainability, including the use of recycled resin. In fact, he adds, “We throw less into the landfill than the average house per month. Everything we don’t use we reprocess back, or it gets put into milk crates donated to the food bank.” Some 480 innovators pitch their ideas to AIM each year, says Brett Darichuk. “A lot of them have been sitting on the idea for years, and now they’re going to the next step,” he says.“We never turn down anybody – we’ll at least look at the idea.” Adds Joel: “We take a lot of pride in going into stores worldwide and seeing our product and knowing it came from just outside Calgary and was manufactured by good friends and family.” life

Growing Reach airdrie-based businesses are increasingly acting as this city’s ambassadors, not just in Canada, but also around the world. last spring, Kent rupert, airdrie economic development team leader, visited China alongside representatives from 41 Calgary and area companies on a fact-finding mission to explore possible opportunities for local businesses overseas. “if you look at airdrie businesses, 43 per cent of them are selling products and services outside the Calgary region,” rupert says, noting that this includes three per cent selling to the european Union, three per cent to asia, 14 per cent to the U.s. and one per cent to south america. “We have a lot of companies with global reach and they’re our ambassadors,” he says. “and that’s something we’re looking to build over the next year or two.” rupert notes that one airdrie firm, GoWell oilfield technology ltd., has strong ties to China, while such companies as airdrie-based alta innovative Manufacturing (aiM) also have global reach. the opportunity to not only network but also promote airdrie as a place to do business is immense. and interest in the city internationally is strong. “you look at the number of hits on our website and they’re from all over the world,” rupert says of “asia, australia, the Middle east, Japan. We had 24 hits from india alone in 2013 … the message is getting out there,” he adds. – alex frazer-harrison

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(Left to right) GrowSafe’s Kevin Garossino, Brian Murtha, Shaun Goode and Camiel Huisma

Feed monitoring technology wins major awards story by Alex Frazer-Harrison photo by Kristy Reimer

Hi-Tech Ranching No offence to any bovines, but most cattle really do look alike.

And if you’re a cattle rancher with thousands of head to take care of, identifying which are healthy and which aren’t can be a real challenge. Since 1990, Airdrie-based GrowSafe Systems Ltd. has developed innovative technology for tracking how much cattle eat and drink – information that’s monitored online in real time from ranches around the world – and through this acquired data it’s possible to tell which animals are under the weather. Not bad for a company that started out developing feed-monitoring tech for ostriches. “There was no money [in cattle, initially], but there was an ostrich breeder here, and back then a breeding pair of ostriches cost thousands,” says GrowSafe CEO and co-founder Camiel Huisma. “I started with a piece of tech for monitoring feed and water intake for ostriches. And we tested the machine on turkeys.” By keeping track of how often the birds pecked at their food, it was possible to identify sick birds, especially if the frequency dropped from hundreds per day to only a few dozen visits to the trough. Huisma and his team then moved into cattle, and today GrowSafe’s facility west of Airdrie develops equipment that can be found on farms across Canada and the U.S. and as far away as Brazil, Finland and Australia. “Pretty much everywhere there’s cattle,” says co-CEO Alison Sunstrum. From Sunstrum’s perspective, her co-founder’s vision has been an instrumental part of the company’s success today. “I would say that Camiel was way ahead of his time when he first developed the technology. He started this company with two other engineers … in a garage five kilometres from here and now we operate worldwide from Airdrie,” she says. GrowSafe currently employs about a dozen specialists, with another half-dozen offsite, and Sunstrum says that the importance of helping


| summer 2014

ranchers get the most out of their cattle – whether that’s making sure they eat efficiently, or that an ill animal is identified and treated as quickly as possible – cannot be overestimated. “I was born in the 1950s when there were 2.8 billion people on the planet and there are seven billion now,” she says. “By 2050, we’ll see about nine billion. But we’re producing on the same amount of land as we were in the ’50s. We have a lot of constraints forcing us to improve productivity.” It is essential, Sunstrum adds, to make sure farmers are more profitable, take better care of the animals and reduce their environmental footprint – efficient feeding can reduce methane emissions substantially. “All these things we started addressing in the 1990s,” she says. Huisma says that GrowSafe’s technology is so accurate, it takes into account such factors as wind and rain and can even measure how many bites an animal takes. “While they’re standing [at the trough], we have a flow meter to monitor how much the animal drinks,” he says. If the collected data – sampled at a rate of 1,024 times per second – suggests a particular bovine is not eating or drinking enough, it can be marked with a bit of green paint to help identify it among the thousands.“We can even inject medication into the water flow as they drink … early in the sickness cycle,” he adds. GrowSafe has collected several major awards for its work, including a 2013 Ingenious Award from the Information Technology Association of Canada and the Innovation 2012 Award for New Technology from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Despite its success (“We’re an overnight success after 24 years,” Huisma jokes) and plans for a U.S. subsidiary, GrowSafe itself is in no hurry to leave Airdrie. “We made a conscious decision to stay here,” says Sunstrum. “We’re proud to be Canadian. We don’t take ourselves too seriously – it’s a bunch of cowboys and nerds out here!” life

If you are looking for a better real estate experience, read what our clients have to say and why they refer us time and again. Go to and click on the testimonials tab to review our references.

Because a Great Experience Begins with a Great Agent.

David and Kathy Anderson

REALTOR速 Executive Platinum Club


summer 2014 |



Last look

Rainbow Divide “On a return trip from Cochrane we were in a wicked rain storm; [it was] absolutely pouring buckets. We were approximately 11 kilometres west of Airdrie on (Highway 567) Big Springs Road and could see a rainbow. As we got closer, we could see the sky divided perfectly by this absolutely brilliant rainbow and even could see where the end of the rainbow touched the ground. The sky was split in two, clear on one side and dark on the other. As we were joking about wandering out to the tip of the rainbow to find the pot of gold, suddenly another rainbow began to form on the dark, stormy side. I grabbed my camera and began shooting.”

– ALICE LORD, PAL@TELUS.NET Specs: Canon 60D, Auto-Sport setting; 18-200 Canon lens    Have an image you think is worthy of a last look? Send it to


| summer 2014


Profile for airdrielife magazine

airdrielife summer 2014  

The MAN issue!

airdrielife summer 2014  

The MAN issue!