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SHARING YOUR VISION. BUILDING SUCCESS. We are Alberta’s construction leaders. We look beyond your immediate needs to see the bigger picture, provide solutions, and ensure that we exceed your expectations. Whether it’s new construction or renovations, PCL’s goal is to ensure our partners’ vision is a resounding success. PCL is the industry leader in health care construction. Watch us build at


Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 6 | Number 3



 ot Industry in Alberta P Set to Grow Like a Weed By Brock Harrison



10 12 35 43

 Three Steps for Alberta’s Energy Industry By Colin Craig

 Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts By Amber Ruddy

BOMA Edmonton News Spring 2018 

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

The Master of Reinvention No matter what life throws at Greg Christenson, he and his company always rise up triumphant By Nerissa McNaughton









JCB compact wheel loaders deliver the power, torque and payload capacity you need for real-world applications. With a JCB by Kohler engine that requires no DPF or DEF and delivers the highest top speed and tow capability in this class, you have the productivity, performance and reliability you need to out-muscle the competition. To learn how JCB compact wheel loaders can benefit your business, contact Liftboss JCB or visit EDMONTON BRANCH 7912 Yellowhead Trail Edmonton, AB (780) 474-9900

CALGARY BRANCH 8010 40 Street SE Calgary, AB (403) 301-0041


Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 6 | Number 3



27 30

B HP Mechanical Celebrates 15 Years

Edmonton businesses are determining how to work with (or against) the carbon tax By Ramona Korpan

The Local Real Estate Market: A (Happy) Update Here’s where things are at, where things are going, and a sneak peek at the tiny trend By Nerissa McNaughton


60 62 65

Moving Cautiously Ahead


 uilding the Way to a Better B Economy By Laura Bohnert

H  DF Insurance Celebrates 20 Years

C  anadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)


More than Just a Game

Golf has an important role in our lives, our businesses, and our economy By Nerissa McNaughton

Celebrates 100 Years


 hristensen and McLean C Roofing Co. Celebrates 60 Years

56 6



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Nancy Bielecki

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Colin Craig Brock Harrison Amber Ruddy

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Nerissa McNaughton Ramona Korpan Laura Bohnert


Cover photo by Epic Photography Inc.


Chris MIller Evelyn Dehner Bobbi Joan O’Neil



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Pot Industry in Alberta Set to Grow Like a Weed BY BROCK HARRISON


ocated just outside the Edmonton International Airport sits a sprawling compound that looks from the air like a giant football field made of plate glass. This is the home of Aurora Cannabis; when marijuana is legalized in July, this warehouse may become one of the largest hubs for the distribution of recreational pot in the country.

Aurora is setting itself up to be one of the largest players in this emerging market; its growing behemoth at the airport, it hopes, will give it access to the burgeoning demand for same-day and overnight pot delivery. Aurora’s ambitions don’t stop with is strategic airport position, Aurora may also capitalize on emerging markets in Germany and Australia.

Canada’s position at the global forefront of the legalization process is setting Canadian companies up for international success if all goes well; and Alberta’s decision to keep distribution as private as possible – mirroring the relatively free market we enjoy for liquor sales – puts Alberta right in the heart of what could be an enormous boon.

The legalization process has been a bit of a patchwork across Canada, with each province setting out its own rules for legal age, permitted possession, and distribution.

For early adopters in a nascent industry, Alberta has a lot to recommend. Even though our tax advantage has eroded, we still boast the lowest business taxes in the country. There’s comparatively little red tape, and we have some of the lowest electricity rates – crucial for greenhouse operators. While other provinces and municipalities dither on marijuana, the business communities in Calgary and Edmonton have gone all in on the “cannabiz,” actively seeking potential investment and business opportunities. For example, in Edmonton, NorthCanvas, which describes itself as a “business accelerator” dedicated to this sector, claims to be the first of its kind in the country. It has hopes to provide seed capital of between $3 and $5 million to as many as 30 startups in coming years. Aurora is one of the most aggressively expanding companies in the country, hoping to take advantage of a marijuana industry that has been valued by Deloitte at almost $23 billion in Canada (includes the value of the drug itself) as well as related services like security, tourism, transportation, and taxes.

In Alberta, the NDP government has announced it would allow private storefronts and government-run online sales. This is a stark contrast to Ontario’s approach, which will fall in line with that province’s much more restrictive liquor distribution. Some statistics suggest there could be a huge demand in this province alone. Of the 200,000 licensed medical marijuana consumers in Canada, 40 per cent hail from Alberta, although we’re home to only a fraction of the medical marijuana suppliers. Of course, with all opportunity should come caution. Some warn that the legal marijuana market may already be wildly overvalued. It remains to be seen whether there will be enough supply to meet demand. And while it would be reasonable to expect an initial uptick in interest when it legalized, most studies show that weed is not a mainstream pastime for the vast majority of Canadian adults. Legalization may change that, but it may not. What is known is that there is no shortage of investors, both large and small, eager to enter this market, either at the retail or wholesale level. It will be exciting to watch this multi-billion industry take shape from the ground up.




Three Steps for Alberta’s Energy Industry BY COLIN CRAIG


he rest of the world is laughing at us. They must be.

No rational person or country would look at Canada, observe how we’re constantly obstructing our own energy industry – while importing oil and gas from foreign countries – and conclude, “that makes sense.” Taxpayers across Alberta – and Canada for that matter – should be very angry about what’s going on. Simply put, the billions of dollars our governments are missing out on in terms of resource royalties and tax dollars means there are fewer dollars available for health care, education, roadwork and other services. Further, when governments miss out on those revenues, it also means they’re more likely to raise taxes.

and resources – there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Environmental radicals may be well funded by some deep pockets in the United States, but their resources are a far cry from what Canada’s $120-billion energy industry has access to. Industry needs to understand that if they’re going to start getting projects approved and product to market, they need to start shifting public opinion. This will require telling our energy industry’s great story beyond Alberta. Canadians from coast to coast need to understand the full extent of the lunacy that’s going on right now. If that happens, politicians will follow the shift in sentiment and start approving more projects – raising more in tax revenues at the same time.

Here are three thoughts:

Part of this process will involve creating more graphics to spread on social media, more town hall meetings, more short video clips, more advertisements, and the like. If industry players don’t want to create their own resources and engage in these activities, they should fund groups like Canada Action and others who are trying to get the message out right now.

First, some in industry need to stop cowering in the corner and start holding their heads up high. Canada has some of the most rigorous environmental policies in the world. As long as consumers across the globe are still buying oil and gas products, all Canadians should want our industry to be able to provide those resources.

Thirdly, and this is where all readers come in: supporters who are sympathetic to this message need to do their part to help spread the word across Canada. For decades now, Canadians from across the country have moved to Alberta – and most of those people are on social media. Combined, they must have millions of contacts in other provinces.

This will require some in industry to stop enabling politicians and their detrimental policies. Industry leaders need to stop standing on stage with politicians when they announce carbon taxes and other negative policies. And for goodness sake, some industry players need to stop cosying up to organizations whose main goal is to shut down Alberta’s energy industry.

Industry needs to start mobilizing their employees, suppliers and the general public to help in this battle. All of Canada has benefited from our energy industry – that should become crystal clear to all.

None of this is new. It’s been rehashed time and time again. So what can be done?

Second, our energy industry’s opponents have had about a decade’s head start in attacking our province’s industry

Again, if we can reinvigorate our energy industry, we can ease some of the financial challenges governments are facing – and avoid a tax hike or two. Who knows, maybe we can even get the rest of the world to stop laughing at us? COLIN CRAIG IS THE INTERIM ALBERTA DIRECTOR FOR THE CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION.



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Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts BY AMBER RUDDY


lberta has historically had the enviable reputation of being the most business-friendly jurisdiction in Canada. Sadly though, with the provincial government seemingly content to rest on its laurels, that status is quickly falling by the wayside. According to a recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), 91 per cent of Alberta’s entrepreneurs are not confident their provincial government is committed to improving the climate for small business. Even at the best of times, getting customers through the door is a significant challenge for many entrepreneurs. With the fragile economic recovery that is now underway, now is not the time for the Alberta government to be layering on higher taxes and new regulations. Alberta has piled on so much regulation and red tape that half of all small business owners in the province would not advise their own kids go into business because of the costs, headaches and stress from excessive regulation and paperwork. To be clear – small businesses have no issue with legitimate rules. Red tape is not to be confused with necessary regulation. A certain amount of regulation is important to protect human health, workplace safety and the environment. But red tape is something else; it is inconsistent information, confusing forms, bad customer service or getting the runaround. Entrepreneurs lose hours on the phone with government agencies trying to get answers to their questions. Too often they have to comply with confusing and arbitrary rules and unhelpful customer service agents.

WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO TO HELP? GET OUT OF THE WAY BY CUTTING RED TAPE AND GIVING BUSINESS OWNERS MORE OF THEIR TIME BACK. The current Alberta government has brought in an extensive list of new regulatory requirements, overhauling employment laws to make our province just like everyone else. We’ve also seen a series of “consumer protection” measures that take a prescriptive approach mandating practices business must adopt. What can the government do to help? Get out of the way by cutting red tape and giving business owners more of their time back. In 2017, businesses with fewer than five employees spent almost 178 hours per year complying with government regulations. Now it is time to look at regulations through a small business lens. It is often not one piece of legislation that concerns business owners but the series of government rules that leads to death by 1,000 paper cuts. Alberta has entrepreneurship in our provincial DNA. Being like everyone else sets the bar too low. If the Alberta government insists on copying other provinces on policies like extensive labour rules and budget deficits, let’s at least replicate our neighbours’ successful efforts to trim back red tape, clearing unnecessary hurdles for our entrepreneurs. AMBER RUDDY IS THE DIRECTOR OF PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS FOR THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS. SHE CAN BE REACHED AT AMBER.RUDDY@CFIB.CA. FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER @ARUDDY.



APPLE FITNESS STORE Leading the way with quality, integrity and great service


he next time you step on that Life Fitness treadmill or spin that Keiser bike at your gym, give a little nod to Ken Harrison at Apple Fitness Store for helping to keep you in shape. Ken is founder of Apple Fitness Store, Alberta’s premiere fitness equipment supplier. With treadmills, elipticals, bikes, rowers and stair climbers, you might say Ken is Alberta’s King of Cardio. But neither man, nor woman, lives on cardio alone, so Apple offers the best selection of free weights and weight machines for strength training — either for commercial or residential use. With a little help from family, Ken built on sales experience as the exclusive Alberta distributor for Paramount Fitness and Trotter Fitness products to hang his shingle in Edmonton and Calgary in 1992. Apple Fitness Stores soon became a key component of the explosion in fitness clubs across


July/August 2017

Alberta and Ken became a pioneer for a healthy lifestyles culture. “Success can be attributed to our company’s core values,” says Ken, born and raised in Edmonton. “We believe in providing only quality products and offering the best service, all with the utmost integrity. We call it the Apple Advantage.” Apple Fitness Store is the exclusive Alberta partner for top quality fitness suppliers such as Life Fitness, Hammer Strength, Keiser, Sci Fit and Umax. Apple Fitness also operates Western Canada’s largest parts and service department with certified factory-trained technicians. Ken is also a big believer in supporting community, sharing the success of his company with many hundreds of people for more than two decades. “We believe it is our corporate responsibility to give back to that community and be a part of spreading the message for an active

lifestyle to those who may not otherwise be able to participate,” says Ken. For 25 years, it all circles back to Apple Fitness' values.

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With over three decades of experience providing superior products and services across Canada, Selkirk Signs has established strong customer loyalty. They foster an excellent team of professionals that are dedicated to their broad portfolio of excellent signage solutions.

Selkirk Signs offers guidance every step of the way through the signage experience.

Imagine a place where employees are empowered. They show up each day representing care and pride, and it shows through in the details. This creates an environment where each person starts and ends each day with a smile, and are truly invested in what they build. Selkirk Signs’ strong team is motivated by an Ownership Thinking ideology, as well as opportunity to

Design to permitting, and production to install, they strive to ensure that your signage is handled with care and executed to perfection.





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The truest proof of quality and care is by receiving a COR [Certificate of Recognition] for upholding the highest health and safety standards. Also certified as a CSA endorsed facility, they use only CSA approved elements in their signs, ensuring clients get the best possible product. Through demonstration of their strong culture and the aforementioned qualities, they have been named 2017 Canada’s Signmaker of the Year. Innovation and futuristic initiative


Selkirk Signs ahead of the curve. Researching state-of-the-art LED lighting is just one of their many implementations to make your signs stand out from the competition. The addition of 3D modeling is ground breaking in this field and provides proficiency in production and realistic visual representation that few sign manufacturers can offer. On their shop floor they have also embraced technology in the building processes. With top of the line CNC equipment operated with skilled workers, they house extreme confidence in their team and product.

Selkirk Signs. Placing the same quality and integrity in displaying your brand as you did creating it. Come and meet us March 20 & 21 at Buildex Edmonton, and find us online today.

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Edmonton and Area on the Upswing A recent report from the City of Edmonton’s Economic Indicators shows that the Capital City is benefiting from the economy’s upswing. Last year closed with a positive rise in employment positions in the part-time sectors (construction, education, logistics, etc.), a rise that offset job loss positions in manufacturing and professional services. In fact, 2017 closed with a drop in unemployment from 7.8 per cent (November) to 7.5 per cent (December), which mimics the same unemployment rate drop (7.8 percent to 7.5 per cent) in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) during the same time period. These statistics were reflected in the overall health of Canada’s employment market, which closed 2017 with a rise of 79,000 positions, driven by the needs of the parttime sector. Education, logistics and natural resources concentrated the areas of growth nationally. Also, Canada wide, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 per cent in November and 5.7 per cent in December, which represents the lowest unemployment rate since record keeping of the sort began in 1976.

labour force continues to expand and individuals, discouraged by very difficult employment conditions in the second half of 2016, return to the active labour force.”

The upswing in Edmonton and across Canada is good news. The Edmonton CMA was hit hard by rampant job loss in 2016, losses that stemmed from a sharp decrease in oil prices.

From November to December 2017, Alberta’s inflation rate dropped from 2.5 per cent to 2.0 per cent, and nationally, the rate reduced from 2.1 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

“Gains in the Edmonton region’s full-time employment since January 2017 suggest employers are now more confident about adding to their workforce,” John Rose, City of Edmonton chief economist, wrote in the January edition of Economic Indicators. “As well, with the year’s employment growth concentrated in full-time positions, average weekly wages grew 2.7 per cent year over year. Consequently, workers are seeing good gains in their income, which will help to boost consumer spending going forward. In the first quarter of 2018, employment in Edmonton should see growth in the manufacturing, professional services and logistics sectors. However, the unemployment rate is unlikely to move much lower than the 7.5 per cent seen in December as the local

“The recent rise in the Canadian dollar this year will moderate the cost of imported consumer items, such as food, clothing and consumer electronics. Consequently, inflation in Edmonton should return to around 1.5 per cent over the coming months and then rise toward 2 per cent as the local economy gains momentum through 2018,” quotes Economic Indicators.

In further great news for the Edmonton CMA, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that, as we headed into 2018, inflation was slowing down. The CPI is a measure of what consumers pay for an average basket of goods, such as groceries, clothing, rent and mortgages. The drop is attributed to lower gasoline costs.

While Economic Indicators reflects current trends and relies upon sound data, economic situations are fluid, and therefore the trends cannot be considered absolute. However these trends are having a positive impact in the region, and all signs point to a sustained upswing for the Edmonton CMA. ABOVE: JOHN ROSE, CITY OF EDMONTON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FINANCIAL STRATEGIES AND BUDGET.





Correction Notice: Len Rhodes Means Business Business in Edmonton wishes to correct the following from the February 2018 cover story, Len Rhodes Means Business. Please note that: 2018 is the 70th year of play for the Eskimos; Mr. Rhodes will be co-chairing the 2018 Grey Cup event; his community involvement includes working to end domestic violence against women, creating awareness for cancer and supporting amateur football; his diagnosis took place in November 2016; and the custom jacket that he wore for the Plaid for Dad – Prostate Cancer Canada fundraising drive was created by Derks.

BENEFITS OF DEVELOPING IN CAMROSE • Affordable land values • 3.6% commercial vacancy rate • 12.0 non-res mill rate • Retail and commercial service area exceeds 150,000 people • Rapid development approval process • Consistent 1.5% annual growth rate

Mr. Rhodes’ travels throughout the country, and his personal assessment has helped to shape his opinions on the private retail selling model of cannabis. Since joining the Chamber in 2015, he has chaired both the finance and risk and the policy committees.

• 34.5% household income over $100,000

The Chamber chair is enthusiastic about the role, noting: “As long as I can contribute to the company I work for and to the community in which I live, I will remain motivated to continue down this road. I want to bring active leadership and two values to everything I do: innovation and creativity. As for becoming the Chamber chair, I respect the current culture and will not create radical change. I see myself as a custodian in a long line of predecessors and successors and will start every board meeting by asking ‘what’s in it for our members?’ If it is not supporting business, it will not be relevant to pursue. The Chamber is a proponent of balance. I like that. In fact, I like that a lot. Think of the Chamber as being a steady hand in a world that is changing at a rapid pace.”

• Educated, well trained workforce

• Regional commercial, service and transportation hub

• Low cost of living index For more information contact Victor Goodman, EcD CEcD 780.672.4426






TELUS and the ECECAF Give Generously to NorQuest College

Earlier this year, the TELUS Edmonton Community Board awarded a grant of $20,000 to NorQuest College. The generous grant will help fund NorQuest’s Innovation Studio, a tech-forward initiative opening this fall in NorQuest’s Heritage Tower. The Innovation Studio is a collaborative space for students to engage in research and creative projects. “The space brings together NorQuest College’s wide range of expertise and will allow for experimentation in teaching and learning, social innovation, and research projects with community and industry, corporate training, and business development,” a media statement from the college points out. In addition to the grant from TELUS, the Innovation Studio is also funded in part by the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada. “The TELUS Edmonton Community Board is all about investing in the communities we live and work in,” said Zainul Mawji, vice chair of the TELUS Edmonton Community Board. “NorQuest College’s recent campus expansion is certainly a milestone for Edmonton, and their future redevelopment, including the Innovation Studio, is something we are proud to support.” The grant is part of TELUS’ ongoing commitment to engaging proactively with, and investing in, the communities it works in. One way the large company does this is to seek out opportunities through TELUS Ventures™. Ventures, an investment branch of the TELUS brand, aims to “partner with disruptive, market-transforming North-Americanbased companies in early-to-late stage development with a focus on the following areas: healthcare IT, Internet of Things, big data, fintech, and digital security and identity. Like TELUS, Norquest College is committed to being a strong and productive force in the community, offering programs that align with current and future job needs

(based on collaborative interaction with heads of industry to determine those needs in real time) and keeping on the forefront of innovative, social and technological innovations that will enable each student to reach his or her goals. The TELUS grant for NorQuest College’s Innovation Studio is a gift that will give back to the community many times over, and it comes on the heels of another grant the college received earlier this year. In January, the Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund (ECECAF) gifted their largest donation in the organization’s 77-year history by giving $2 million to NorQuest College.






ECECAF WAS FOUNDED IN 1941 AND HAS MORE THAN 11,000 PARTICIPATING MEMBERS FROM VARIOUS UNIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS. MEMBERS CONTRIBUTE TO THE FUND FROM THEIR SALARY AND THE MONEY IS DIVIDED INTO CHARITABLE DONATIONS AND MEMBERSHIP SERVICES. ECECAF was founded in 1941 and has more than 11,000 participating members from various unions and associations. Members contribute to the fund from their salary and the money is divided into charitable donations and membership services. “This is an incredible honour,” says ECECAF board chair, Brenda Waluk. “On behalf of all of our members, we would like to say how proud we are to be part of the spirited and vibrant growth of NorQuest College. Our

members are very committed to making a difference in this community. This is a legacy that will live on for many generations.” Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, president and CEO of NorQuest College, stated, “From 2013 to 2017, we have become a first-choice institution, increasing our student population by 72 per cent, from 10,220 learners to the 17,592 we have today. This incredibly generous gift will allow us to better prepare our learners for tomorrow’s workforce needs.”

















hristenson Group of Companies is a thriving community development firm that is best known for creating active adult living and engaging seniors’ communities, but did you know the roots of the company stretch back to the late ’40s? Or that, at one point, company president Greg Christenson was down to just one employee during one of Alberta’s worst recessions? The story of the company, and of Peter Dirksen and Greg, the two men behind it, grew from a cycle of what Greg calls “boom, bust and pure survival.” Today, the Christenson Group of Companies can serve in any type of economy, thanks to the foresight, dedication and the drive of the people behind the company’s name. “It started as a family business,” starts Greg. “My father, Lloyd, was building homes with his father, Andrew, in the late ’40s and ’50s in Camrose. In Edmonton, he was most

active in the ’60s, building custom homes on the south side. “We grew up in Grandview Heights, close to the University of Alberta (U of A) and across from the U of A farm. It’s part of our family DNA – the south side of Edmonton. “I went to U of A and got a Civil Engineering degree, then went on to become an estimator at a small commercial firm. That part of my life was about personal growth and fun. At that time I was also playing and managing lacrosse teams. In the ’80s, I got fired! Perhaps I spent too much time on lacrosse!” He chuckles before continuing. “Then I ran a little design service called Arcon within my father’s company. Arcon Design Services Ltd. still exists. Then father retired and my uncle Ron moved on to start his own business. Father suggested I help run his company. I was young, about 25.”





Greg Christenson and his companies He was young, but also bright, talented and eager. Greg stepped into the role and started building rental apartment blocks in Edmonton, Whitecourt and Edson. Then along came 1983. “The financial crash,” Greg shakes his head. “Interest rates of 22 per cent and the National Energy Program that just crushed the oil industry. The world oil prices fell to about $10/barrel not long after that. It was three hits for us in a row. I had been building for seven years – we went from 600 apartment builds a year to zero. By 1985, we were down to one employee, Brenda Mackin.” At this point, most businesses would have – and did – fold, but Greg simply shifted gears. “We went into property and receivership management, working with lenders on apartments, small office buildings and strip malls that were being foreclosed on.” In that economic climate, there was no shortage of foreclosures. “It was then,” Greg muses, “That the name of the company, Christenson Developments (CDL) started. At the time of it being my father’s company, it was Christenson Contractors, then Chris-Con Builder, but they weren’t well known by the public. I enacted the company to do property management for access to capital and investors so that, when the market came back, we could start over again.” It was a bold and very insightful move, but it wasn’t an easy one. “We worked with real estate syndicates,” Greg explains. “Eastern Canadian investors bought up apartment blocks in distress and repurposed them, but nobody in Alberta wanted to buy anything – there was no confidence in our province’s economy.” However, it was also during this time that Greg and his fledgling company built important and long-lasting relationships with banks, trust companies, and a diverse array of investors. Now-household names like Rohit Group of Companies, Landmark Homes, and Cameron Developments met and worked alongside Christenson. By the time the economy was on the upswing, Greg had about 12 steady clients buying apartment buildings. It was also during this time that he met and partnered with



are the force behind www.AlbertaCommunityBuilders. com. The website is a powerful resource that advocates for, promotes and inspires complete communities across the province. The mandate is: “We envision communities where grandparents and grandchildren can live close to one another and both thrive, where giving and receiving care isn’t a burden for families because support is woven right into the fabric of the community, a place where people can both grow up and grow old. We envision complete communities for all Albertans.”

Peter Dirksen, of Can-Der Developments (Christine Dirksen owns Haven Properties). Described as the behind-the-scenes partner for his humility, Peter was, and remains, a very important part of Christenson Group of Companies, and is instrumental in the growth, development and future of the company. Greg recruited Peter, a successful apartment builder in his own right, into the Edmonton Home Builders Association, and the two men quickly found themselves on a trip to Ottawa and Toronto to meet with property investors. “Over that trip, we formulated the idea of a development company,” smiles Greg. “We quickly created a joint venture, which soon become a partnership.” With the first economic crash fading into the background, the company began to grow rapidly. Beaumaris Lake Estates was built and successfully marketed to investors in 1990/1991. The Gainers Meat Packing plant was transformed into the thriving community of Creekside in the late ’90s, and Railtown boomed in 1998. In recent years, Christenson has also built urban villages in St. Albert, Sherwood Park and (currently) in Spruce Grove. Can-Der Construction Ltd. has buildings owned by both Peter and Greg. It’s easy to see the difference in a Christenson development. A focus on complete communities transforms the way residents think about where they live, work and play. “Complete communities have housing for families, seniors, workers, and singles,” Greg points out. “It’s not just single

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family housing. The idea is to allow residents to retire in their own community. These are walkable neighbourhood-style developments with amenities. Post-war, Edmonton had a baby boom. I myself am a Boomer. Peter and I patterned the business around that and created growth in seniors’ areas. By creating products that target the boomers, you help them while you help their parents. You cater to two generations, along with helping the people (nurses, cooks, support workers, etc.) that work with them.” By having active adult and senior housing in the same community as mixed-use commercial and residential, you have seniors that are able to comfortably stay near their adult children and grandchildren, and employees in the commercial businesses that are just steps away from their work. The entire community celebrates a rich diversity of

age, culture and skill sets. Everyone lives, works and plays together, learns from each other and helps each other. “There is a very strategic approach in all aspects of these complete communities,” admits Greg. Greg is a big-picture kind of guy, and he has an almost eerie knack for anticipating and understanding where the markets, trends and demographics are headed – years in advance. From jumping from building apartments in a boom to being on the forefront of receivership management in the bust, and from building communities where the population could age in place long before the push to build affordable seniors housing was fashionable, the developer’s gift of foresight extends from the construction site to the boardroom to politics. Yes – politics.





“Early on, I made a decision to be a more political style of developer,” says Greg. “Many builders are quite reclusive and don’t seek out a profile in politics, but industry associations, including CHBA and the Chamber of Commerce, help you build relationships with the mayor and other political characters. We are familiar with all of the mayors, councillors and city managers in the Capital Region, and being based in Edmonton gives us access to the provincial government. Building codes, condo committees, affordable housing – we’ve been involved in all of the regulatory aspects, and we’ve been proactive in trying to influence them. Greg and the Christenson Group of Companies have been active with the Canadian Home Builder’s Association (CHBA) for more than three decades. He’s proud to have chaired virtually every CHBA committee; acted as the president for the Edmonton, Alberta and Canada chapters; and to have won CHBA’s Builder of the Year award eight times, and an Award of Excellence. Greg would go on to create an urban council to share best practices and ideas with builders across Canada. “Edmonton, and Alberta,” he says, “are very resourced-based and prone to booms and busts. “One of the reasons why I got into the political side of things was to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was seeking out something that was more sustainable, and I was driven to create a more stable business environment. You could follow the drilling rigs or go where the industry is hot, but we decided to fertilize our own lawn instead of buying someone else’s green grass. Peter and I didn’t get excited about the housing markets in Toronto or Vancouver. We know the local market. Edmonton is a great community. Why wouldn’t we work here and be experts in our own community?” How does he feel about his long, varied, flexible career and his Group of Companies? “I feel good about it!” Greg smiles. “I think [I’m doing] the right things for the business and the community. The behind-the-scenes strategy and planning that goes on – we’ve approached it analytically and scientifically. Looking back it was an ongoing evolution. It allows us to be more about partnerships, community, charity, and to be less selfish. I think we’ve all done a good job in Edmonton, collectively, in keeping things affordable. Edmonton has the lowest development fees in Canada, and CHBA and the Chamber has helped to influence this.”

That’s not to say that the road to where he is now was an easy one on the business or personal front, and Greg is the first to admit this. “In university, I started young, and I did nothing but socialize. It took seven years for me to get a basic degree. Then, after getting fired from my first job, I became a workaholic. One day, while eating breakfast out, I ran into my father. He said he wasn’t that smart, but he worked hard. I applied that to my career. Two years later, I had another conversation with him and he said, ‘anyone can be successful if they work 80 hours a week!’ So that made me think about work life balance. If you work 22 hours a day, you won’t meet people or build relationships. I learned through Jim McCoy and Dale Klein and others that you have to have fun doing what you’re doing, and what you do has to have a social component. For pure survival, you need friends and relationships.” With this mind set, Greg says Christenson Group of Companies thrived because they created a networking syndicate starting with two friends: Reza Nasseri built, Jim McCoy renovated and maintained, Greg managed. “Don’t look at life just through the business lens,” he says. “In the end, it’s the people. I feel I benefit from [making] connections.” Greg is very grateful to his father, who laid the groundwork for Christenson Group of Companies. He’s thankful for his partners, past and present; his hard working team; personal and professional supporters, clients, vendors; and everyone enjoying life in a Christenson complete community. He’s especially grateful to the CHBA for their support and for allowing him and his team to help shape the face of construction in the Capital region. He plans to keep moving forward, building the company’s corporate culture. Greg concludes, “You start off and try to develop an employable skill so someone will give you a job. Then you learn you are better off leveraging your ability with other people with different skills. You start a small business and learn how to make that business survive. Then the business can’t succeed unless your industry succeeds and your community. You reinvest in grass roots. You go through the circle of life. It’s one big circle. It’s all a circle.







axes may account for one of only two certainties in life, but that hasn’t stopped the Edmonton business community from feeling a sense of uncertainty— peppered with frustration or optimism—over an increase in a provincial tax. Alberta’s carbon tax was increased, as planned, in January of this year, and no industry has been left untouched. From transportation to retail to property management, businesses in every sector are bracing for an impact on their operations and bottom line. Though some foresee a barrier, others are hoping to find opportunity.

The Breakdown Matthias Alleckna is a commercial energy associate with Energy Rates (, a company with a mission to help consumers understand energy options and bills by providing unbiased information about rates and issues affecting the energy sector. “From January 1, 2018, the Alberta Carbon Levy is set to increase by 50 per cent, and when in the context of natural gas consumption the cost will rise from 1.011 dollars per gigajoule to 1.517 dollars per gigajoule,” Alleckna explains of the carbon tax increase. “The average small business in Alberta consumes around 1,500 gigajoules per year. With this in mind the increased Levy

will add $759 dollars per year to the average small business’ natural gas bill. In an attempt to offset this increase in cost, the corporate income tax on small businesses has been reduced from 3 per cent to 2 per cent.”

An Uncertain Impact For many business owners, it’s not just the immediate rise in operational costs that has them concerned. They’re looking out for further costs and effects down the road. “I believe that the true effects of the carbon tax will become more prominent as we continue further into 2018,” says Mark Barron Wilbert, a partner/realtor with Coldwell Banker Venture Realty. “With the additional increases from 2017 to 2018, it may become more apparent as businesses and consumers start receiving their monthly statements, and realize how drastic that increase actually is.” “The hidden cost here is that currently 45 per cent of Alberta’s electricity is generated by natural gas fired power stations, set to increase to 77 per cent by 2030 due to the coal phase out plans,” explains Alleckna. “Although small businesses will not be paying the Carbon Levy directly on electricity consumption, the effect this increase will have on electricity generators will eventually fall down to consumers in the long term.”




The Way Forward It’s probably no surprise that many business owners are feeling neither positive nor optimistic about the tax and their ability to work with it. As the Alberta director of provincial affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Amber Ruddy has heard from many of them. “Taking billions of dollars out of the productive yet delicate economy is a flat out bad idea,” she says, summarizing the sentiments she hears from CFIB members. “Small businesses want appropriate environmental safeguards, but 82 per cent of Alberta small businesses reject this tax that layers on making a bad situation worse. Business owners report that the carbon tax has led to increased operating

and input costs, reduced profitability, and the delay of business investments.” Of course, being unhappy with the tax doesn’t make it go away. Despite the challenges businesses foresee with the increased taxes, they still have to make changes in order to accommodate it. But does that mean changing their operations or pressuring the province to change the tax itself? According to Ruddy, the way forward is to push back. “CFIB is pushing for a full economic impact assessment of the carbon tax to assess the impact it has had on the economy,” she says. “Business owners are encouraged to join 2,500 Alberta entrepreneurs that have signed CFIB’s petition regarding the carbon tax.” ABOVE: EDMONTON TRANSIT IS TAKING PROACTIVE STEPS TO MAKE THE CITY’S TRANSIT FLEET MORE GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE. PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (EEDC)




Some businesses, however, have accepted the tax and have resolved to adapt their operations accordingly, even going so far as to seek opportunity for new streams of revenue. “While new buildings are being built downtown, which are greener and incorporate new technologies, the older buildings are seeing a drastic increase in operating costs and property managers are looking for solutions to bring down costs and attract tenants,” explains Wilbert of the impact on the real estate and property management industries. “This has resulted in a market of new companies that are thriving on the demand for updates and change. The potential savings to retrofit cannot be overlooked.” It’s not just the private sector feeling the pinch. Mark Brostrom, branch manager of city environmental strategies with the City of Edmonton, says that Edmonton Transit Services has been working to accommodate the increased tax. “The City knows that the provincial carbon levy will increase its cost of transportation fuels and natural gas, but is actively implementing programs to reduce that impact,” he says. “For example, in May 2018, the City is producing a comprehensive greenhouse gas management plan for the corporation. It outlines the investment required over 12 years to make energy retrofits, install renewables, electrify the bus fleet, and accelerate street light replacement. Scenarios will be presented to council at varying carbon reduction levels.” Of course, as a public entity, the City actively works toward making its operations more environmentally friendly, so trying to reduce the impact of the carbon tax fits into many of those strategies. “ETS will be adding up to 40 battery electric buses to its fleet of over 900 diesel buses in 2019,”

says Brostrom. “The electric buses are significantly more fuel efficient than diesel buses. Electric buses also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even with today’s significant use of coal and natural gas to generate electricity in Alberta, and will reduce emissions even further as coal is phased out and more renewable sources are added.” Only time will tell how businesses ultimately respond to the tax, and whether they adapt or find a way to push back. However, for many, the response might lie somewhere in the middle. According to Wilbert, balance is the key to maintaining commercial success in these changing times, at least in his industry. “It will be interesting to see if the increases will continue or if there will be pushback to find a better way,” he says. “There are programs in place to assist with the retrofits and provide rebates, but we will still need to find a balance between older building and greener solutions.”

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lberta may boom and bust when it comes to the energy industry, but one thing the province can pride itself on is an affordable housing market. One only needs to look to the far west where the average home price peaked at $1.8 million in Vancouver in 2017, or the east where last year’s average was $735,021, to feel good about the $400,000 average Alberta enjoys. Now, as 2018 gets underway, what can we expect from the Edmonton market? Darcy Torhjelm, 2018 chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, weighs in. “The year-over-year sales have risen overall about 1.5 per cent,” says Torhjelm. “It’s not a large increase, but it does show that there is more confidence in the market. The overall inventory is over up over previous years, which does also indicate the



recession that we are currently working our way out of. I am fairly confident that the worst is behind us, and although we are not looking at large increases in prices or sales, this will bring some stability and confidence to the overall housing market.” Torhjelm breaks it down, saying, “The single family homes’ numbers overall have been steady with not much increase in overall sales or prices. The higher priced properties, over $500,000, have been a little more difficult to sell in many areas, but there are still sales happening. The duplex/ townhouse market has seen the largest growth with around 4-5 per cent in sales and price increases in most areas. Condos look to be the most difficult with inventory, climbing more in this category – the pressure is going to be downward as sellers find fewer buyers and more competition.”

An Alberta Family Business Supports Alberta Causes The Christenson Group of Companies was recently honoured as our CEO Greg Christenson was presented with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce 2017 Northern Lights Award of Distinction for his legacy of business achievements and philanthropic generosity. According to Greg, this recognition was earned by the entire Christenson team. The Christenson Group of Companies is a local community development firm that builds cutting edge, energy efficient villages for seniors, supports dozens of local charities and pioneers innovative concepts like Urban Villages, Connectivity and Complete Communities. Christenson is firmly invested in Alberta, having grown organically here over forty years and two generations. Lloyd Christenson started the company in the ‘60s, building homes in Edmonton as Christenson Contractors. His son Greg joined the company, and later partnered with Peter Dirksen to form Christenson Developments. A commitment to Alberta, a strong team dedicated to respect, trust and quality of life, and a drive to truly make a difference in our community; those are Christenson cornerstones. We are Albertans caring for Albertans.

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This year sees another adjustment of the mortgage rules. “We have seen mortgage rule changes in the past, and although they did seem to impact the housing market immediately, the overall effect was minimal long term,” Torhjelm confides. “Of course, the economy and other factors could come into play more down the road, and that could change the overall market.” “Currently we are not looking to see much change for the upcoming year,” Torhjelm concludes. “I feel that ‘stable’ is the word of the day for the housing market in all categories, and this, in my opinion, will bring more confidence in the market and will be good for both buyers and sellers. Buyers will have lots of choice in the market and sellers will have the opportunity to sell their property, although they may need to be patient and talk specifically with their Realtor to ensure they understand the competition in their category,

to ensure they are priced correctly, and to understand how their property shows and the effect of the amenities or lack of amenities their property has.” Nathan Mol, REALTOR®, Liv Real Estate, is also happy to speak to the current market trends. “A combination of factors,” he says are behind the year-over-year uptick, “[The numbers have] stayed firm due to stable demand from household formation; couples are still getting married and wanting to start a family, in many cases, and owning their own home is a big part of it; but there was definitely an element of some buyers moving forward with their purchasing decision prior to the end of last year to qualify under the previous mortgage rules without the new stress test.” Mol continues, “I think the rule changes will have only a very modest impact on the Edmonton market, whereas the

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eal estate in Edmonton follows a consistent cycle, and part of that cycle is a busy spring selling season. Every seller wants their home to sell quickly and for the best price, but it takes more than just luck to do so. With the right planning and professional help, you will be able to prepare your home in a way that will attract all the right buyers. The first step is to disassociate yourself with your home. When you’ve lived in a house for a long time and built memories over years, it can be hard to let go of it. Part of that letting go process is depersonalizing the house. If you’re moving, you have to pack anyway so why not start with your personal photographs and family heirlooms? Many buyers aren’t able to see past those personal touches that make a house a home, and therefore have a harder time picturing themselves living there. Other ways to depersonalize include, decluttering from bookshelves and counters, or rearranging closets and cabinets to better show off the storage space in the home. Clear away any extra shoes or coats from the front entrance to make it more inviting to buyers when they first walk inside. Another way to prepare your house for buyers is completing minor repairs. Things like cracked tiles, holes in the wall, leaky faucets or burned out light bulbs can distract a buyer and make them question if your house is the place for them. A great way to add value to your home and help it look fresh is by painting all your walls with a neutral colour – making it a blank canvas that will allow buyers to imagine themselves living there. A thorough cleaning of your house will also help. Washing windows inside and out, bleach cleaning grout, and dusting light fixtures may not be part of your regular housecleaning routine, but when selling your home, it will need to be. Buyers are looking closely at everything, so you need to make

Darcy Torhjelm, Chair, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton sure every nook and cranny is spotless. Dealing with smells, especially pet-related ones, is important as well. Bad odors can leave a negative impression on buyers. First impressions are important, so don’t forget about curb appeal. Stand on your street and take in your front yard: what do you see? In Edmonton, this definitely still applies in the winter. Make sure your entrances are properly cleared of snow, and that ice is sanded or melted. In the summer, make sure the lawn is mowed and your gardens are weeded. Lastly, hire a REALTOR®. An experienced REALTOR® will guide you through the home preparation and staging process, right through to the handover of the keys, so you don’t have to do any of this alone.


THERE IS ANOTHER TREND LOOMING stress tests implemented in Oct 2017 affected primarily first time buyers. I think the January 1st changes for those with a 20 per cent (or more) down payment will have an impact only on some move-up buyers since they are more likely to have a 20 per cent down payment to make the move-up possible. These buyers tend to be in their 30s or 40s, have more money saved up and, in my experience, are less likely to buy the most expensive house they qualify for versus the younger first-time buyers who have more limited resources.


“I have been hearing from colleagues in Toronto and Vancouver that buyers there are more likely to be affected since incomes are similar to Edmonton, but prices are 2-4 times higher. They have no choice but to maximize the amount of mortgage they qualify for – they simply will not be able to afford last year’s prices. In Edmonton, there are some buyers who will have to adjust their price range downward, but it is the minority of buyers who purchase at the top of their budget, in my experience.”


Glenda Groeneveld, REALTOR®, RE/MAX Excellence, agrees that the sales trends are a result of several varying factors, some of which include rates, inventory, and timing for the buyer/seller. In her experience, single family properties are moving the fastest, but she’s seen an increase in duplex and townhome sales, which she chalks up to their affordable option for ownership. As for the 2018 mortgage rules, “The previous mortgage rates and rules had continued to motivate buyers, especially those that were purchasing for the first time,” confirms Groeneveld. “This, I feel, in turn benefited the seller as well. If the housing inventory is good and the buyer is ready to purchase, they will move forward. Time will tell how the new rules affect our market. For a buyer, it means their purchase qualifying price will be lower. Whether or not the new rules are necessary for us at this time, we will always have buyers and sellers. If a buyer or seller wants to move forward in a real estate transaction, they will. It is just going to look different than it has in the past.” There is another trend looming that has some homeowners rethinking their residence’s footprint – or are they? The sweeping tiny house trend, which sees families of all sizes ditching their digs to live in 500 or less square feet of compact space, is hot on television right now. Is that the actual reality here in the Capital City?



RETHINKING THEIR RESIDENCE’S FOOTPRINT – OR ARE THEY? THE SWEEPING TINY HOUSE TREND, WHICH SEES FAMILIES OF ALL SIZES DITCHING THEIR DIGS TO LIVE IN 500 OR LESS HOT ON TELEVISION RIGHT NOW. IS THAT THE ACTUAL REALITY HERE IN THE CAPITAL CITY? Not so much, say the Realtors. “I haven’t had any buyers approach me looking for tiny homes,” confirms Mol. “There are only a very small number [of tiny homes] in Edmonton that are flying under the radar of the City, for now, since current zoning bylaws don’t allow for them. If, however, the City starts allowing for them, I could see a small segment of the buyer pool looking at them as an option. In Edmonton, we do have a good share of neighbourhoods with small sub-800 square foot bungalows, but there is generally a strong preference for today’s buyers to want 900 square feet or larger for detached homes. Groeneveld has also not been flooded with requests for tiny living. “I have not had a lot of inquiries or interest from my clients regarding tiny living,” she smiles. “Finding an area with proper zoning that allows for tiny living could be difficult right now, but there are hints of it in different metropolitans where the local offices are talking about tiny living or are trying to develop policies that will accommodate tiny living.” Right now in Edmonton, it’s business as usual in the real estate market. Properties are selling, prices are holding, and maybe, in the distant future, we’ll even have a small tiny community within the city limits. Meanwhile, for expert buying and selling advice, visit a certified REALTOR so you can find and love the place that you call home.


s the City of Edmonton continues its goal of expansion in the city while experiencing a smaller growth in the tax base in recent years, it has been working to cut costs by freezing wages and looking for inefficiencies. However, one way it has been getting extra income is by raising property taxes to what some say are now unbearable amounts. Residential property taxes have increased 70 per cent over the past 10 years, while businesses have seen their property taxes more than double in the past four years. Edmonton’s tax rate increased by 35 per cent in the last five years, to $1.5 billion in 2017 from $1.1 billion in 2013, and a 3.6 per cent increase was just announced by the City in November. The biggest tax driver was the City’s growth agenda, namely medium-sized projects such as recreation centres, roadway interchanges, park upgrades and fire halls. Each of those isn’t just a one-time construction expense, they also adds significant ongoing staff and maintenance costs. “The total value of property in Edmonton grew by $28 million in 2017, which increases the tax base; but that’s a fraction of the growth Edmonton was seeing several years ago, when numbers between $40 million and $45 million were common,” said the City’s chief financial officer Todd Burge. “Businesses and tenants can’t afford the burdens of these types of cost increases. It’s not sustainable continuing on to increase at that rate,” says a frustrated Cameron Naqvi, executive VP of Cameron Development Corporation. “Think, if you doubled the amount of residential property taxes, what would happen? It’s not sustainable or practical. I understand they need to maybe increase their operating costs, but they can’t burden the private sector like this.” It is common for businesses to pay more in property taxes than homeowners. Since Edmonton has so many more residential properties than business properties, the smaller number of businesses end up with much higher bills. In 2017, they paid a property tax rate of 2.8 times what homeowners paid. However, in addition to the increase in property tax, business owners have also had the added burden of

the carbon tax and the minimum wage increase, which is getting to be too heavy a load to bear for some. In fact, the City’s property tax rate was the top concern in a survey Leger Marketing released in late 2017. Thirty-four per cent of the 500 voters contacted picked “reducing the tax burden” as a key focus for the next term. The increases have many retailers making moves to lower their operating costs, like cutting staff. Businesses such as the Ford Parts Warehouse and Distribution centre for Western Canada are moving outside the city. Ford announced in March 2017 that after months of negotiations, they were moving their facility to the city of Leduc – a new 400,000 square foot building that comes with considerable tax savings. Meanwhile, just like retailers, property owners and managers need to pass on their added business costs as well. “I know of one commercial property owner who has seen the property taxes for their industrial portfolio going up from 11 per cent to 32 per cent in a down market, that’s a huge increase for tenants,” says Naqvi. “Usually we would go outside of downtown and look at possibly raising the costs of space in the suburbs, but right now they’re not doing any better either.” Tax rate increases are not a problem that is limited to the business in any one part of the city, such as downtown. Naqvi adds there are major flaws in the assessments that have some of their chain retailers in the downtown paying less property taxes than their suburban locations, “which doesn’t make any sense.” But as the population continues to move from the downtown core to the newer homes at the edges of the city, the benefits of operating a business out in those areas decreases. In December, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce urged the City to drop the tax to at least 3 per cent. Soon after making that request, the City’s chief financial officer told council the city has an unprojected $7.7 million in savings to work with, coming from the provincial government approving a 1 per-cent decrease in the amount the city contributes to employee pension plans. With that savings, the property tax increase could be limited to 3.1 per cent. | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | March 2018


EDMONTON PROPERTY OWNERS THRIVE DESPITE HIGH OFFICE VACANCY RATES A s Edmonton’s downtown office vacancy rate spiked to 15 per cent in 2017 due to projects like ICE District and Edmonton Tower, downtown property owners and managers have been considering how they might survive through this change, and how long it will take before there’s real absorption in the market that will fill some of the space in existing buildings. However, as retired basketball player Troy Smith said, “Pressure can burst a pipe or make a diamond,” and Edmonton is notorious for thriving in tough economic times.


March 2018 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

“Rather than pulling our heads in and thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, this is the worst we’ve seen things since the 80s,’ instead, let’s look at how we can use this tough economic position to improve our city,” says Percy Woods, president of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Edmonton. Edmonton developers are doing just that. “A lot of property owners and managers in Edmonton have been exploring the opportunities of repurposing office space as residential apartment space,” says Randy Ferguson, COO of Strategic Group, which has planned and overseen three redevelopment

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projects in the past year – the CN Tower, Harley Court and Centre West. Strategic – which strictly builds and redevelops commercial and rental space, realized there was some interesting opportunity in both the Edmonton and Calgary markets. “Over 50 per cent of the rental apartments in Edmonton and Calgary were built prior to 1979, so you have an inventory that is aging and lacks the benefits of modern construction,” says Ferguson. “You also have an economy that lends itself to an increase in renters and an increase in rents due to the lack of quality, modern rental apartments.” With that in mind, Strategic has begun purchasing old office buildings with the intent of converting them into apartment buildings. One of the first buildings they looked at was the city’s famous CN Tower, the first skyscraper in Edmonton. “We studied CN as a hotel option, we studied it with a multi-family rental option, and we compared that with its long-term position in the market as an office building,” says Ferguson. At the end of the day Strategic came to the con-

4 March 2018 |

BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

clusion that the building’s most feasible option was to remain an office building. “That building actually has a lot of attributes,” Ferguson says. “It’s located smack in the middle of some incredible things going on, like The Royal Alberta Museum right next door to the east, EPCOR Tower directly to the north, and ICE District to the west and kitty corner to the new Edmonton Tower.

Since 2013, Strategic group has acquired and built more than 1,400 apartment units in Alberta, primarily in Edmonton and Calgary, and Ferguson says he sees a lot more potential for conversions in the city’s downtown. The building is also close to the LRT, a ton of amenities and one of its best hidden attributes – the fiber grid beneath it driving the SuperNet, resulting in exceptional connectivity. With these perks in mind, the Strategic team approached potential customers to see what they thought about the building. The result? “In a building we felt was going to take at least a dozen years to lease our floors, we leased most of it in less than a year,” says Ferguson. Strategic also owns Harley Court, a 1970s office building in the downtown neighbourhood of Oliver, which it will be converting into apartments this fall. “Harley Court is 156,000 square feet and will accommodate 177 one- and two-bedroom apartments,” says Ferguson. “Of the properties we’ve studied so far, it’s the one which has been identified as having the greatest potential for residential conversion in terms of its architecture and location.

Harley Court is now under construction and will be most likely take several years to complete. Last but not least, Strategic also acquired Centre West. Located on Capital Boulevard, just off of Jasper Ave on 8th Street, the building was vacated by a government tenant, and Strategic purchased it with the sole purpose of repurposing it into multifamily rental. Since 2013, Strategic group has acquired and built more than 1,400 apartment units in Alberta, primarily in Edmonton and Calgary, and Ferguson says he sees a lot more potential for conversions in the city’s downtown. “We’re excited and think that there should be more conversions downtown, which will add more residents to the streets while repurposing old buildings that are outdated for their existing purpose – it’s truly a way to keep a vibrant community moving forward.”




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Find a quality long-term home for your business at | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | March 2018


DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES EXCITED TO WELCOME BIOWARE TO EPCOR TOWER B usinesses in downtown Edmonton are excited about the addition of the city’s beloved video game developer BioWare to the core. The company is expected to move into three floors of EPCOR Tower in late 2018 or early 2019, expanding its current size from around 60,000 square feet to approximately 75,000 square feet. Created in Edmonton in 1995 by three doctors who studied together at the University of Alberta (U of A), BioWare was purchased by Electronic Arts (EA), a global entertainment publisher, in 2007. They have been located in the city’s suburban area of Empire Park, just off of Calgary Trail, since they first opened. “BioWare is a well-known story of Edmonton entrepreneurism and home-grown talent, so to have them


March 2018 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

move downtown and expand their location, I think that speaks volumes about the increased vibrancy in downtown Edmonton,” says Sidney Waskiewich, VP of commercial leasing for Qualico Commercial, which owns EPCOR Tower. EPCOR Tower is recognized as one of the city’s flagship eco-friendly buildings, as a winner of LEED® Gold Certification and BOMA BEST Gold Management. “EA and BioWare are committed to providing world-class facilities for our employees, and this move will allow us to deliver on that promise,” said Casey Hudson, BioWare’s general manager. “We’re thrilled to be moving into a modern, state-of-the art facility and live in a space that empowers and inspires us to do our best work every day.”

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The company’s move from its current location on Calgary Trail in the Empire Park neighbourhood is being noticed by many as proof that the ongoing revitalization of the downtown continues to attract businesses. “There was a time, not long ago, when Edmonton businesses didn’t see downtown as a preferred or desirable location,” says Waskiewich. “But that’s quickly changing, and I think a group like BioWare taking such a large, prominent position downtown tells me the downtown environment is getting increasingly better, and is becoming highly sought after by quality companies.” Last year, Google also chose the U of A’s downtown campus to open DeepMind, the Artificial Intelligence research division of the company. “I’m hoping it’s a sign of things to come. I want to see more of these types of companies here,” says Waskiewich. “Post-secondary institutions like the U of A, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and MacEwan University are producing some great tech grads, and groups like EA and Google taking a position in Edmonton is a good sign that the city’s tech scene is a growing sector of our business community.” Mayor Don Iveson agrees, “BioWare’s announcement to come downtown is a great addition to our innovation corridor. Their expansion speaks to Edmonton’s supportive entrepreneurial culture, one where we build it here and expand it to the world.”

NAFTA: It’s Time to Raise our Collective Voices

2018 Board of Directors Board Executive

Chair: Len Rhodes President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club Vice Chair: Dawn Harsch President & CEO, Exquisicare Inc. Treasurer: Bryan DeNeve Senior Vice President Finance & CFO, Capital Power Past Chair: James Merkosky Partner, Tax Services Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP

Board Directors

Dr. Glenn Feltham President & CEO, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Crystal Graham Partner & Licensed Interior Designer, Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning Ltd. Elan MacDonald President, Impact Consulting Scott McEachern Vice President, Engineering & Projects, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Dennis Schmidt Legal Counsel and Associate Development Manager Alldritt Land Corporation LP Craig Thorkelsson Head of Tax PCL Constructors Inc. Dr. Jenelle Trenchuk-Saik President & CEO, Parker Ford and MacKay Liza Wold Partner, Miller Thomson LLP

Chamber Executive

Janet Riopel President & CEO Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Tim Ferris Director, Member Services Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Ian Morris Director, Organizational Excellence Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Danuta Woronowicz Director, Advocacy and Outreach Edmonton Chamber of Commerce


Edmonton Chamber of Commerce #600 – 9990 Jasper Avenue Edmonton, AB T5J 1P7 T: 780.426.4620 • F: 780.424.7946

By Janet Riopel, President and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce


n the eve of the seventh round of negotiations, which are taking place now in Mexico City, it’s never been more important for members of our business community to speak loudly and clearly on the need for a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The U.S. is by far Canada’s largest trading partner with $2.4 billion in goods and services and 400,000 people crossing the border each and every day. Alberta exports about $90 billion worth of goods and services to the U.S. and Mexico every year. We can’t afford to have that flow of trade interrupted at any time, and especially now when Alberta’s economy is just starting to recover from the worst economic downturn in a generation. NAFTA has led to one of the world’s strongest economic relationships, giving business access to a market of 500 million North American consumers. The renegotiation process is an opportunity to both strengthen and modernize the agreement. NAFTA’s vital importance is why the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), a coalition of Canada’s eight largest metropolitan chambers of commerce, including the Edmonton Chamber, brought together 25 North American chambers in January, just ahead of the last round of negotiations in Montreal. Our collective goal was to identify the issues surrounding the renewal of NAFTA and the risks our member companies would face if NAFTA is terminated. Most of all, we joined together to send a clear message to our respective governments on the importance of maintaining free trade across North America. The Chambers in attendance at the Montreal meeting—the eight largest Canadian metropolitan chambers of commerce as well as ten American and seven Mexican metropolitan chambers of commerce—represent economic zones with a combined GDP of almost 3.5 trillion USD. At the end of the meeting, all 25 chambers present signed a joint declaration stressing the importance of NAFTA to the economies of the three countries and their cities. Our joint declaration spoke to the considerable benefits we enjoy due to NAFTA: • NAFTA has created major economic ties between Canada, the United States and Mexico, helping to quadruple trade between our three nations since its inception, now reaching $1.5 trillion USD annually. Continued on next page... BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2018


Let’s Talk about NAFTA The Edmonton Chamber is encouraging business leaders to reach out to your U.S. customers, suppliers and partners to emphasize the importance of NAFTA and free trade. Make use of our advocacy package, which includes: • Talking points • Letter and email templates • Data on the value of trade between the U.S. and Canada • Draft letters that will assist your U.S. partners to reach out to their elected officials Available online:

• NAFTA has stimulated cross-border investments in the region. Canadian foreign direct investments in the U.S. have risen from less than $40 billion USD to nearly $400 billion USD. • 14 million jobs in the United States, 2 million jobs in Canada, and 3 million jobs in Mexico are dependent on trade between the three NAFTA member countries. • Value chains have become integrated through NAFTA, and many products cross our borders multiple times while becoming a finished product. This integration severely increases the cost of breaking a free-trade zone in North America.

Janet Riopel, President and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, signs the joint NAFTA declaration.

• NAFTA has provided consumers in our metropolitan areas and across our three nations with access to more abundant and affordable products and services, including both high-quality manufactured goods and a wide variety of agricultural products throughout the year. The Montreal summit was our first opportunity to bring our local perspectives to the renegotiation process and work together on the issues surrounding the future of North American trade, but it won’t be the last. We committed to continue working together to raise our collective voices. We are asking the business community to join us. We all need to do our part to protect and grow the $1.3 trillion in annual trade that NAFTA represents. Our unified voice can and will make a difference. The debate over NAFTA will not be won over the negotiating table in Washington, Ottawa or Mexico City. A renewed NAFTA will be won at the grassroots, by business leaders reaching across borders to business leaders, and to elected officials. Join us—we all have a role to play in ensuring the success of a renewed NAFTA. The Edmonton Chamber would like to hear from you. How does NAFTA affect your business? You can contact us by email:

Members in this Issue City of Edmonton in Moving Cautiously Ahead on page 27 REALTORS Association of Edmonton in The Local Real Estate Market: A (Happy) Update on page 30 Fillmore Construction Management Inc., PCL and Mayfield Management Group in Building the Way to a Better Economy on page 51 Edmonton Economic Development Corporation/Edmonton Tourism in More than Just a Game on page 56



Raptor Mining Member profile Craig Harder, CEO Seeking Perfection through Incremental Improvements is one of the underlying principles that has helped Craig Harder and his team at Raptor Mining take a local Edmonton based business to global markets in the U.S., Europe, South America and beyond. Read on to learn more about how Raptor Mining delivers operational performance solutions for their clients, and what motivates Craig to push forward in this fast-paced industry. What’s your story? Raptor Mining is a privately held design and manufacturing firm that designs high quality industrial parts for use in mining, dredging, power generation and construction applications. We are headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, with national and international Continuous Improvement Service and/or Distribution Centres (CISC’s/CIDC’s) located in Ontario, Florida, Utah, Netherlands, Peru and China. Our commitment to entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, and execution are the principles that define our fast paced culture at Raptor, and enable us to develop and deliver unique client solutions to support increased operational performance. Raptor’s key principles are what drive me to me create the direction and vision at Raptor. Actively communicating, listening, and being challenged by my team motivates me to continually push forward with our culture and value proposition. Three things people are surprised to learn about your business? 1. We’re from Edmonton! Founded here in 2004, this is our headquarters and largest CISC. 2. We design, engineer, market and manufacture all of our own product lines, such as RaptorPlate®, MagnaWear®, Defender®,

Craig Harder, CEO, Craig Harder. Photo by EPIC Photography Inc.

etc. All products are designed, engineered and in some cases manufactured in-house. All intellectual property (IP), trademarks, and patents are held by Raptor and are CIPO and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved. 3. Speed to market! Our culture and end-user relationships allow us to take products from concept to production in short order. This results in a shorter business cycle which in turn, allows us to continually innovate. Biggest challenge in the last 12 months? The biggest challenges for us have been growth and global expansion. While growth and global expansion are some of the things we all strive for in business, it’s been challenging to navigate



Serving those who build Canada for 40 years!

through some of the obstacles, including cash flow, language barriers, code of business conduct in foreign countries, and admin support. Biggest issue impacting Edmonton small businesses? I like to say that Raptor is the smallest global company in Edmonton. I believe that a lot of small business owners in Edmonton are concerned with working outside of Canada, Alberta or even outside of Edmonton. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity outside of our region and whether you work your business through e-commerce, dealers or direct sales, I encourage you to get after it and look for business beyond our borders. What do you enjoy most about being a Chamber member? I am very new to the Chamber however the opportunity to meet peers appeals to me and I look forward to attending events in the coming year. Secret to keeping employees engaged? My number one job at Raptor is to be the chief listener and communicator of the vision and direction of the company. By continually and regularly engaging with all levels of the organization, we create alignment throughout the company. Do you have a personal mantra? Top line growth, growth, growth! I also like to use ‘keep calm and GSD (get stuff done)!

If you could make one substantial improvement to Edmonton’s business climate? Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the city and create the majority of the jobs in our city, I would like to see more mentoring services, tax reform and business culture in our city to help those growing SMEs. Some SMEs will become large employers in the city one day and we want them to feel a connection to a city and not give them a reason to leave. Favorite thing to do in Edmonton? Spending time in our amazing river valley. My wife, daughters and I live very close to the river and we enjoy spending time during the summer months wading in the river and exploring the river banks, helping my daughters find the “coolest rock” or “wildest flower” in Etown. Apple of Android? Apple, healthier than an android. Favorite place in the world? Honestly, I travel all over the world on business and on average over 250,000 miles per year. Wherever my wife and daughters are, that’s where I want to be - that’s my favorite place. Coffee or Tea? 3 cups of black coffee per day. Just black coffee, I love the taste of coffee and it does the trick for me every time.

Connecting Business Chamber Ball 2018

Edmonton Chamber President & CEO, Janet Riopel, enjoying the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate Chamber members, special guests and the Edmonton business community.



Movers, shakers and difference makers from all industries came together for a brilliant evening of networking and celebration at Chamber Ball 2018.

The Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame and Media Room was open for guests to explore, making for an ultra-exclusive VIP experience.

Premier Rachel Notley spoke to the crowd and brought Chamber Ball guests greetings from the Government of Alberta.

The Edmonton Oilers locker room door made the perfect backdrop for glamourous photo opportunities throughout the event.

This year’s Edmonton Chamber Northern Lights Award of Distinction recipient, Greg Christenson (left) of the Christenson Group of Companies, poses with Jill Didow, Jeannie Vaage, and Bryan Hall.

Chamber Ball guests enjoyed an interactive dining experience in Ford Hall that provided an opportunity to mingle and network between dishes.

Mayor Don Iveson officially swears in 2018 Board Chair, Len Rhodes, President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club.

Edmonton musical duo The Royal Foundry wowed the crowd with their harmonious voices, electric on-stage chemistry and up-tempo alternative pop sound.

Guests had fun striking a pose in our photo booth to capture an image of their new connections and highlights of the evening. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2018


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dmonton’s construction industry is building a lot more than a new skyline. In the wake of an oil- and gasdriven recession, and as Edmonton works to revitalize its downtown core, the construction industry is pulling more weight than ever. Here’s a look at some of the companies that are making a big impact on the city. Fillmore Construction was started by Brent Fillmore in 1991, explains Chris Fillmore, president. It is now an incorporated general contractor that is owned by the Fillmore Family Trust. “Edmonton is a growing, prosperous city, and its residents expect attractive and well-designed facilities that can offer the best service and opportunity to its residents,” Chris explains of why the construction industry is such an important part of Edmonton today. “These projects are creating new jobs and innovative designs to make our city more attractive to its residents and new businesses.” Fillmore Construction is no exception. The company currently has multiple projects on the go, including the

U-Store-It Erin Ridge project, a $13 million, five story, architecturally finished self-storage building in north St. Albert; the Sherwood Park Toyota project, an $8M expansion and renovation to the existing dealership facility; and the St. Albert Centre, a $16M strip-out and remodel of the entire Target space that will also provide new entrances around much of the mall. The company has no plans of slowing down. “Fillmore Construction continues to grow in a very organic way. We also operate a sister equipment rental company named Legacy Equipment. Legacy rents equipment to subcontractors, general contractors, and others throughout northern Alberta.” Chris adds PCL Construction is quick to agree that the construction industry makes a big impact on Edmonton’s economy. “PCL is one of a number of large companies that are important to Edmonton, not only for the number of Edmontonians we employ, but also for the impact the work





Northwest Redwater partnership on the upgrader northeast of Edmonton. Both represent massive, landmark projects in this province, and they are nearing completion.” PCL is also taking its Edmonton connections south to New Jersey. “We are currently building ‘The American Dream,’ an impressive $1.8 billion-dollar mall and entertainment complex for our longstanding client, Triple Five Corporation, for whom we built all phases of West Edmonton Mall.” we do has on the local economy,” Dave Filipchuk, president and CEO, PCL Construction, explains. “Also, I know that any of those companies, ours included, feel proud, both as business owners and residents, when we’re able to help put Edmonton on the map internationally as global players.” “PCL Construction is 112 years old and is the largest contractor in Canada, and the eight largest in the United States, notes Dave. “Our annual billings for work completed exceed $8 billion, and in 2017, we secured $10 billion in new contracts for the first time in our company’s history. “Currently, PCL is excited to have just broken ground on the new Calgary Cancer Centre, a $1.1 billion-dollar hospital that is the largest lump sum, design-build project in PCL’s history. Also, ongoing work for our valued client, Suncor, on the Fort Hills project in Northern Alberta, continues along with the

Of course, PCL has played a crucial part in Edmonton’s downtown revitalization. “Rogers Place was constructed by PCL on an aggressive 30-month schedule, and it has proven to be an ‘engine’ that has spurred the economic growth and a revitalization of downtown Edmonton. It opened ahead of schedule, and in my view, it stands out among all other entertainment venues in North America. “PCL is also very proud to have the opportunity to build the vast majority of ICE District, right here in our hometown. We are currently constructing the Stantec and JW Marriott Hotel towers that will become the two tallest buildings in our city. The Stantec Tower, when complete, will be the tallest building west of Toronto. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the ICE District joint venture as our client on this landmark development in downtown Edmonton, ABOVE TOP: ST. ALBERT CENTRE EXTERIOR ABOVE BOTTOM: STONY PLAIN COMMUNITY CENTRE EXTERIOR PHOTO SOURCE: FILMORE CONSTRUCTION




Let’s Build a Relationship. Whether it is building a fire hall in a community to keep families safe, providing a safe workplace so employees return home at the end of the day or constructing a gas station to provide services in a remote location, Keller Construction is there to help. Through one-on-one meetings, face-to-face encounters and real-time experiences, we build your trust – and keep it. At Keller Construction, we treat every relationship and every project with exceptional care to bring ideas to life. Visit us at


and also alongside Stantec, a global engineering giant that is also based right here in our city. We are thrilled to be completing the interior fit-out for Stantec’s relocation into their namesake tower in ICE District, as well.” “The complicated engineering and construction solutions required to build towers on a scale like this have never before been attempted in Edmonton,” Dave notes; but no challenge is too tall for PCL. “PCL is continuously embracing new and novel technologies that can help us continue to lead the way in the industry. Virtual construction, drones, safety analytics, and modular building, to name just a few, continue to advance at a rapid pace, and staying on top of advancements such as these are essential in order for us to remain competitive—and to provide exemplary service to our clients.” AJ Slivinski, owner and president at both Step Ahead Properties Ltd. (SAP) and Mayfield Management Group Ltd. (MMG), is also working hard to put Edmonton on map—but he’s taking a new approach to get there. In 2004, AJ founded SAP, a company that buys, rehabs, and rents apartment buildings across Canada. After buying and becoming the president of MMG in 2016, SAP became responsible for developing the first non-subsidized shipping container luxury rental apartment building in Canada, and the complex is strategically located in Edmonton. “The Westgate Suites shipping container project is now completed and has residents moved in—they now have bragging rights to be the first residents to live in a multifamily residential shipping container infill that was designed to blend into the surrounds from the exterior while, inside its stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, and open concept design create a luxury interior—and a ‘breath of fresh air’ for residents who know they made a green choice,” AJ smiles. The three-story building contains 20 luxury rental suites in a variety of one- and two-bedroom options, all ranging in size from 584 square feet up to 870 square feet. “I’m proud to say that the finished product doesn’t look like a shipping container—that was never the intent,” says AJ. “I wanted the economic (reduced financing fees) and



environmental benefits of the construction, along with as little disruption to the surrounding residents as possible. The reduced construction time, as compared to a traditional stick build, while maintaining a ‘blended look’ with the existing sister buildings on the same property was the longterm vision.” AJ explains, “Shipping containers have been piling up along the west coast shores by the thousands from China because it’s cheaper to make new ones rather than ship them back. The consensus was, you could get considerably lower cost, faster erection time and be part of a green solution. Using a modular building approach offers numerous benefits over conventional construction because there is a faster schedule. Off-site construction will mean less disruption to the existing tenants and surrounding neighbours; the steel engineered structural design is fire resistant, which is far safer and more durable (as compared to wood frame); and lastly, the modular construction gives a far better sound insulation between the suites, making them much quieter for the residents— and it is basically put together like Lego! “These types of projects are very important to our city. Many would consider them ‘outside the box’; however, with the proper research, partnership, and location, we have proven that it can be successful – more than that, it moves the needle for the respective industry.” AJ concludes, “The Westgate Suites shipping container project put Edmonton on the map internationally as an innovator in the residential property management and the construction industry. That should be motivation for others who have ideas and plans for something unique to consider moving forward. We never started out looking at the project as getting worldwide attention and accolades; however, we are proud to say that it did!” The Westgate Suites shipping container project was recognized internationally when SAP was named a finalist for the 2017 REME (Real Estate Management Excellence) Awards in the category of Corporate Innovation by IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management). (For more info on the Westgate Suites shipping container project, visit www.



More than Just a Game



and the experiences within that a potential visitor may want to participate in. Golf is part of our outdoor adventure pillar, so we definitely do promote the golfing experience in Edmonton to potential visitors.”

In the mid-1400s, Scottish golfers were so enraptured with the game that golf (along with the game of soccer) were both banned by King James II. The pastime was stealing away from archery practice, which was the region’s national military defense.

According to the popular consumer review aggregate site, TripAdvisor®, Victoria Golf Course, Rundle Park Golf Course, and Legends Golf and Country Club are the 6th, 7th and 8th rated outdoor activities for tourists in Edmonton, and golfers and non-golfers alike are very familiar with the amenities on and off the greens of popular favourites like Lewis Estate Golf Course and The Ranch Golf & Country Club.

ccording to the International Golf Federation, the history of golf goes way back to 100 BC, where Roman citizens played “paganica” using a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. Incarnations of the game are also seen in the historical record of Scotland – where it caused a bit of a problem.

Consuming, controversial and extremely popular, why does golf have such a hold on us? Canada boasts over 5 million active golfers, raises millions for charity ($533 million in 2013 across Canada), creates over 300,000 jobs and adds more than $10 billion to Canada’s GDP. Most telling of how much the game is beloved worldwide, however, is this interesting statistic from the National Allied Golf Associations’ (2014) Economic Impact of Golf in Canada: “Canadian travelers make more than 1 million trips involving golf, spending $2.5 billion annually on golf-related travel within Canada (including on-course spending at courses visited). Foreign visiting golfers spent $1.6 billion on golf related travel and on-course spending.” Edmonton is no exception when it comes to attracting golfers. In fact, while West Edmonton Mall, Rogers Place, ICE District, and our famous festival season are thought to be the region’s attributes, our local golf courses, as it turns out, are a huge tourist draw. “With mid-summer daylight lasting 17 hours, and over 80 golf courses in the Edmonton region, our urban centre is a great destination for golfing enthusiasts,” confirms Renee Williams, director, communication and distribution, Edmonton Tourism. “We market the destination, Edmonton,



Edmonton golfers are not out of the loop when it comes to golf tourism. When they are ready to test their skills on different courses, Travel Gurus, Edmonton’s own award winning independent local travel agency, can’t wait to customize their travel golf experience. “For individuals, we offer carefree planning of their golf vacations,” says Travel Guru Hidar Elmais. “From tee times to caddies, we make sure everything is taken care of so you can just focus on the game. One of our most popular individual golf packages are the Masters. This year, it’s April 2-6 in Augusta, Georgia. Our Masters travel options include hotel packages, ticket badges to your choice of rounds, VIP hospitality club access and private housing rentals.” Travel Gurus has packages for corporate golfers, too. “Most of our corporate incentive trips include activities while in destination, and the majority opt for golf. Our last corporate incentive group we had saw two agents from our office accompany the group right to the destination to help with logistics in getting a company tournament organized. We also provided video drone footage to be used for their recruitment marketing.”


Why is golf taken so very seriously? It’s because golf is more than a sport. It’s a challenge that can be played long-term to maximize health and wellnesses on every level: business, personal growth, physical development, mental health, social development and giving back to charity. It’s a onestop shop in the world of sports for ticking all of the “life improvement” boxes.

smoothly as possible. Travel industry professionals are your one-stop shop to get everything planned, from flights, transfers and accommodations to tee time,” confirms Elmais. “We have teamed up with some of the best golf courses in Edmonton to provide this experience to our inbound clients who are coming to visit Edmonton. Edmonton is a major up-and-coming market for summer and golf tourists from all over the world.”

The psychology of golf as a life improvement mechanism extends into the corporate world. It’s one thing to get to know your colleagues and clients in a corporate setting; the boardroom comes with expectations of looking and being your best business self. On the golf course, however, you can’t hide. Corporate tournaments mean teamwork. It’s a great way to see which personalities gel and how the team performs under pressure. There’s also the added benefit of being able to “play” together, which strengthens the bonds and promotes a more productive, happy workplace. Most corporate golf tournaments also incorporate a charitable element, and everyone feels good about giving back. Again, golf is so much more than a game. It’s a complete and complex experience, and for many, it’s a lifestyle.

Remember good old King James that banned the game because it was interfering with the country’s military defense? By 1500, the ban on golf in Scotland was lifted and King James IV took up the sport as a hobby. In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was on the golf course just days after the murder of her husband. In 1900, golf was played at the Paris Olympics. In 2016, the game of golf made history again for its return to the Olympic stage after a 112-year absence.

Thankfully, it’s a lifestyle that Edmonton is well positioned to offer to locals, tourists and corporate event planners – those looking to enjoy the local course and those looking to test their game abroad. “Like the game itself, our clients want no stress; they allow us to help plan [their golf experiences], making sure it goes as

In every respect, golf, one of the oldest games in the world, will continue to grow, evolve, and impact our lives. Edmonton stays progressive in attracting golfers of all skill sets and ages to the game, hosting outstanding golf tournaments and attracting tourists to the greens. If you have yet to experience the game as an individual, or if your company has not yet hosted a tournament, head down to any of Edmonton’s golf courses and be pleasantly surprised by the many programs available, and if you are an avid golfer, contact a local travel agent today to get set up on your next golf adventure.




The Place to Play in 2018 F

act: Vancouver Island has been named in the top North American Islands by Condé Nast Traveler magazine for the last 10 years. Fact: Vancouver Island boasts the mildest climate in Canada. Summer is reliably warm and sunny, with frequent ocean breezes, while winter is relatively mild. Fact: Vancouver Island is certainly an amazing place to visit, by anyone’s standards. Final Fact: All eyes will be on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail this year as it welcomes its 13th golf course. A complete redesign by industry-leading golf course architect Graham Cooke & Associates, the Campbell River Golf & Country Club will be the first golf course to open in British Columbia since 2011 – making the Vancouver Island Golf Trail the place to play in 2018! The Vancouver Island Golf Trail stretches along 250 kilometres of Pacific paradise from Victoria to Campbell River. Or, more to the point, stretches nearly 77,000 yards of fairways and greens awaiting your play. That’s a whole lot of golf just waiting to be played. As GOLF Magazine puts it, there is “plenty of gold-medal worthy golf” on Vancouver Island, with a selection of 13 destination golf courses, exceptional customizable golf packages for every budget and preference, convenient transportation options, world-renowned island hospitality, and a multitude of après-golf activities adding even further appeal.


Discover the ambience of cosmopolitan Victoria, the lush farmland and vineyards of the Cowichan’s “Warm Land,” the magnificent beaches of Parksville and Qualicum Beach, and the pristine wilderness of Courtenay and Campbell River – explore it all on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail. In fact, there’s so much to do and explore, the Vancouver Island golfing experience has been said to be getting a little “Wild Off The Tee.” On Vancouver Island, getting wild off the tee means pairing golf rounds with salmon fishing or beachcombing, getting adventurous with whale watching or skydiving, relaxing with wine tasting, or sampling pints of craft beer along Vancouver Island’s portion of the BC Ale Trail. There’s so much to do, you’ll want to add a day or two to your golf vacation just to explore it all. There are 13 destination golf courses on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail from south to north: Olympic View, Highland Pacific, Bear Mountain Resort - Mountain and Valley Courses, Arbutus Ridge, Cowichan, Nanaimo, Fairwinds, Pheasant Glen, Crown Isle, Storey Creek, Campbell River and Quadra Island.


Golf paradise? No doubt! There really is no other way to describe it. Complete with year-round openings, mild weather, convenience, customizable golfing options and an affordable price, Golf Vancouver Island is the one-stop shop for booking golf vacations on the acclaimed Vancouver Island Golf Trail. Find out why GOLF Magazine described Vancouver Island as “one of the continent’s best values” by visiting www. or by calling 1-888-GOLF-239 where staff are ready to welcome golfers to a year-round golfing mecca.

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Here We Are



arly July 2002. Robert Pallister, Marcel Bonin and Darrell Hrywkiw pulled two vans and a truck into an empty parking lot. They exited the vehicles and cast a brief eye on the new decals that declared the small fleet as the property of BHP Mechanical. They turned to the camera, slight grins hiding their nervous excitement.

Their situation, however, changed quickly. Within two years, BHP Mechanical hired its first apprentices. By year four, they purchased a commercial building to function as their office and shop. Within 15 short years, three men and three vehicles turned into a thriving company with a fleet, shop and office, and dozens of highly trained operators in the field.


BHP Mechanical Ltd.’s services include plumbing, heating, gas fitting, HVAC, drain cleaning, preventative maintenance, concrete coring, and stainless steel passivation. The company also specializes in niche services, such as pipefitting and working in confined spaces.

The first official work day of BHP Mechanical was immortalized in a photograph, and the journey began. “Because there were three of us,” Marcel explains, “we worked out of our homes. For the first three years, I worked from a closet I had converted into an office. Every invoice we did went through that closet.” “Since we didn’t have an office or a shop, we would meet at Tim Hortons every morning to straighten out our paperwork and plan the day,” admits Rob. “We dealt with everything using Blackberries and phones and emails. We stored our tools in a garage in the city.” “I find it quite remarkable that three plumbers could come together and successfully build a company as we have,” adds Darrell.


“Anything mechanical in a building, we can take care of,” says Marcel with pride. “Even if it’s not in a building – pump stations, sewage lift stations… we can go out and do all of that.” The company also focuses on educating its clients so each one can extend the life cycle of their plumbing and HVAC systems. “Over the years, I see customers making the same choices,” says Darrell. “The one thing I would tell my customers about is the value of being proactive and planning ahead. A building’s mechanical system is behind walls and doors, so it’s easily forgotten until it no longer works. Proactive preventative

BHP Mechanical Ltd. • 15 Years

maintenance gets eyes on the equipment so that problems are recognized before they become major repairs.” The partners make sure their clients are taken care of, and they are equally concerned about the needs of the staff. “Safety is number one,” Marcel explains. “We are COR certified and have a fulltime safety officer. We’ve had safety forms for our techs to fill out for every job, right from day one.” Although the three principals undeniably put in a lot of time, work, capital, heart and soul to launch and maintain BHP Mechanical, they credit the continued success and growth of the company to the team. “There is construction, and then there is service,” says Marcel. “With service, you have to have a certain mentality and skill set. A service tech needs to be able to work with all the fields, and they never know what the next call could be. Construction also requires an equally important mentality and skill set. In construction you are required to ensure that the work is completed properly and efficiently, and within the budget and time constraints. At the same time, you must deal with unforeseen obstacles. This is not an easy feat.” “Our company policy of honesty and respect has allowed us to acquire great tradesmen and staff that are very talented and can build many things,” says Rob with pride, going on to site working with the staff as one of the most rewarding things about his BHP career.

Honesty, integrity, respect and customer service – these are the principals on which BHP Mechanical was founded, and focusing on these principals has enabled the company not only to grow, but also to thrive. “Yes, there have been challenges,” confirms Darrell, “but we approach those challenges like any of the jobs we do for our customers: persevere until it is right. If it was easy, would it be worth doing? Probably, but no way would it be as rewarding!” “We are here,” sums up Marcel. “We started with three people and grew from having nothing to having what we have today, and during that time, nobody has ever missed a paycheck. Within a few weeks of opening, we had more than enough work.” With values of honesty, integrity, professionalism and customer service, and with a strong and focused team that is as loyal to BHP as they are to the clients, the first 15 years of business were just the warm up. Today, the entire team is focused on the next big milestone – 15 more years. And beyond that, the possibilities are endless. “We would like to thank our customers, office staff, managers, and all service and construction field staff for all their continued hard work and dedication that allows us to put out a product we are proud of.” – Rob, Darrell and Marcel

Congratulations BHP Mechanical Ltd. on your 15th Anniversary! From your friends at Advanced Coolant Technologies Inc.

21111 - 108 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5S 1X3 P :(780) 482-2334 • F :(780) 482-2335 BHP Mechanical Ltd. • 15 Years

22643 - 113 Avenue Phone: 780-488-0777

HDF Insurance Celebrates a 20-Year Milestone

“We work for you”

By Nerissa McNaughton


ombined, HDF Insurance’s principals, Brenda Douglas, Dave Douglas and Doug Farnell, have more than 100 years of experience. With a new, renovated and accessible office downtown; diverse multi-lingual staff; tech-forward processes; and more than 45 insurance products for auto, home, travel, business, health and life insurance needs, each client gets personalized service, the best quote from across numerous Canadian underwriters, and outstanding customer experiences. “We place the business where it fits for the best needs of our clients,” Dave points out the biggest advantage of working with a brokerage firm. Unlike an agency that sells the products of one carrier or a bank that requires each client to fit a selected scope of products, a brokerage is flexible and has access to a large selection of policies, allowing it to customize and select the best one for each client’s needs. Doug notes, “Nobody anticipates that they are going to have an insurance claim. Nobody plans on a loss. People perceive our industry as ‘all products are the same,’ but there are major differences. That is why we adhere to the ‘all comers’ rule. Regardless of your driving record, claims history or any other risks that you present, we can find a policy for you.” “We respond, literally, to every client and can often save them money on the policy while being there for them when they have to make a claim,” Brenda smiles. “And our service is fast. Except for very rare occasions, we can help you out right now and provide a quote over the phone.” Doug explains that the company’s commitment to implementing technology has enabled the brokerage to keep pace with how their clients like to do business. Sure, you come in for a meeting, but you can also conduct your entire transaction over the phone or via email. The principals are proud of how HDF Insurance bridges the gap between an unassisted online insurance transaction and an indepth in-office consultation. HDF Insurance | 20 Years


Owners: Doug Farnell, Brenda Douglas and Dave Douglas.

“For someone to buy home insurance online, it would be a nightmare. Your home is your biggest asset,” Dave points out as an example. “The sites that do that are really putting the onus on you to have knowledge as to how to insure your home.” The HDF alternative is to call, email, or text a knowledgeable broker. It’s just as fast as an online transaction, but it gets you a better price and closes the loopholes that could get an important claim denied. “We can even bind coverage over the phone,” confirms Dave. Doug points out, “The client base does not want to know it all. They want to rely on a resource to look after them. That’s why we have an impressive, knowledgeable team.” “Our brokers are long-term employees,” Brenda nods. The majority have been here for more than 10 years.” “Our staff really cares about our clients,” adds Brian Rose, director of marketing. “They are there to make sure each client understands their policy. Our customers want value, they want professionalism and they don’t want to spend their time thinking about insurance. By working with insurance companies from all over Canada, we save our clients a lot of valuable time

and effort. They do not have to call 20 companies and answer the same questions 20 times to get their pricing. We have software that makes this process much easier and quicker than can be done by a consumer, and it doesn’t cost a penny more than what they would have paid if they had contacted that insurance company directly. It’s a win/win for everyone.” This year, HDF Insurance celebrates its 20th anniversary of the merger between GG Farnell and Howard Agencies, a merger that created the company it is today. Looking to the future, HDF Insurance will continue to service Edmonton and Alberta while innovating in a competitive industry, and while continually building the trust and appreciation of its clients.

Peace Hills is proud to congratulate HDF Insurance on 20 excellent years. 110 – 10055 106 Street NW Edmonton, AB T5J 2Y2 Phone: 780-488-0921 • Fax: 780-488-1633


300-10709 Jasper Ave NW Edmonton, AB T5J 3N3 Phone: 780-424-3986 • Fax: 780-424-0396


Congratulations HDF Insurance on 20 years! We’re proud to be a part of your business, and look forward to working together for years to come.

780-249-FYRE (3973)

BLUFYREMEDIA.COM HDF Insurance | 20 Years

Nominations are now closed; thank you to all who have nominated, and to the nominees who are part of this year’s program. We look forward to assembling another group of influential people from our business community who will be honoured for their contributions towards making Edmonton a great place to live and work! Business in Edmonton will celebrate the 2018 winners at our 6th Annual Awards Gala, and our July issue will feature the Leaders and their companies.

Save the Date Wednesday, June 20th | 6pm To stay informed on details for our event, visit or email

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Karen Love, CNIB’s executive director for Alberta and Northwest Territories.


Changing What It Is To Be Blind by Rennay Craats - with photos by Riverwood Photography


t took two major events to spur the creation of Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). The First World War and the Halifax explosion of 1917 both left a large number of people with sudden vision loss. At the time there was little support for blind Canadians and Colonel Edwin Baker, who lost his sight in Ypres in 1915, returned to Canada and became the pioneer behind CNIB. Veteran rehabilitation experiences in Europe armed him with a new modern approach for helping the blind and a realization of how important those resources were in Canada.

“Today’s philosophy is change what it is to be blind,” Love says. “We really feel that whether you have full vision or vision loss you should have access to the same opportunities.”

“They had been treated at a hospital in London, England and they brought a revolutionary philosophy back to Canada. There were seven Canadian men, several of whom were blind, who founded CNIB in 1918 to meet the demand for support of blind Canadians,” says Karen Love, CNIB’s executive director for Alberta and Northwest Territories.

Historically, all services were paid for through fundraising, private donations, community foundations and government grants. CNIB presented a compelling case that vision loss should be viewed the same as any other rehabilitation therapy and should be included within the continuum of health care.

Under Colonel Baker’s guidance as managing director for 42 years, CNIB broke down barriers for blind Canadians. The organization’s employment programs were among the first for the blind across North America and employment rates rose significantly for visually-impaired Canadians for the first time ever. As CNIB grew and spread across the country it became the largest private not-for-profit charitable organization of its kind in the world. It endeavoured to change attitudes and increase opportunities for blind Canadians, and those efforts are still at the forefront of CNIB’s mandate.

“If you were in an accident and lost the use of your legs and needed occupational therapy you’d get that through health care. If I lost my sight and needed rehabilitation therapy, I had to come to a charity,” Love says.

CNIB has worked hard to make that goal a reality. It implements a more inclusive, integrative model to promote greater independence, quality of life and career success regardless of the client’s level of vision loss. Whether the client is blind or partially sighted, a senior or a child, CNIB is an invaluable resource for every visually-impaired Canadian.

After four years of advocating to government, CNIB was successful and introduced the Vision Loss Rehabilitation (VLR) branch of services. Now the organization divides its services into two areas: the health care-supported VLR and the charitable foundation programs.

CNIB | 100 Years | 1


VLR provides clients with an assessment and training on daily living skills to enhance their safety, mobility and independence. CNIB programs help clients master independent living skills like pouring coffee, preparing meals and using appliances as well as techniques for labelling medications, identifying money and organizing household items to allow them to thrive at home. Outside the home, orientation and mobility services aid clients with finding their way independently and in a safe manner. This includes everything from finding and crossing at intersections to riding public transportation. No matter what challenge your vision loss brings CNIB will support you to remain as independent as possible,” she says. CNIB also provides volunteer-sighted guides to assist clients in familiarizing themselves with their surroundings so that clients stay safe via one of our volunteer programs called Vision Mates As the vast majority of CNIB clients are partially sighted, VLR specialists also help clients better use the sight they have. CNIB introduces clients to products and assistive technology including CCTV, which magnifies materials on a screen making them easier to read. This allows visually-impaired clients to look at photographs, read books and see the fine print on statements so they are able to pay their own bills and do their banking. “It all goes back to making sure you’re helping clients be as independent as possible,” says Love. Today’s technology, from talking watches and alarm clocks to portable magnifiers, makes it easier for clients Karen Love and Brian Vey, Client Support Services Coordinator with his guide dog Serge. to stay engaged in their community and CNIB helps clients access and operate this technology. Clients learn to use tablets or smartphones and the innovative apps IPads are also helping visually-impaired students feel more available for them to have documents read aloud, organize included at school. Rather than being relegated to the back of calendars and even find their way with a mapping program that the classroom to use a CCTV machine, students can use an app uses sidewalks not roadways for directions. that allows them to take a picture of the class material at their desks and have it read back to them. “They can use their app so they’re not being treated differently. It’s about inclusion, equality and independence,” she says.

to the CNIB on providing 100 years of community-based support and as a national voice for those Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.

CNIB works extensively with young people to give them the tools and confidence to excel in school and beyond. Staff transitions children into the school system and continues to support them throughout their schooling through programs such as ‘Beyond the Classroom’. Clients help each other as well with the buddy system pairing an older child with a youngster to help them overcome challenges and share positive experiences. The goal is to empower kids and make them leaders advocating for themselves with support from CNIB and their families so they are prepared to take on the world as adults.

CNIB | 100 Years | 2

Brian Vey with Christopher Warner, Program Lead Community Education.

“We hear from parents that when their kids were born with severe vision loss that they’re never going to have the same opportunities that other kids are going to have, and we just want to prove them wrong. They’ll have the same opportunities but they have to do things in a different way,” says Love. CNIB helps employers, families and the community better understand those different ways of doing things. Community Education staff and client advocates work in the community to educate groups about vision loss, eye safety and the services available to vision-impaired people and their families. CNIB also trains people to understand what kind of help clients may need, like being guided, and the proper ways to provide it. CNIB provides incredible resources but clients value supporting each other through client-led peer support groups too. There is a group for every stage of life, where clients can share challenges and find solutions to issues they all face. Support from sighted supporters is key too, and CNIB does its best to facilitate clients in their desire to continue with activities they enjoyed before vision loss. Vision Mates pairs sighted volunteers with CNIB clients to meet up and do whatever activity they have in common, whether that’s shopping, yoga, swimming or learning an instrument. These relationships ensure the clients are getting out in the community and it’s great for friendship, independence and engagement.

CHANGE THE WAY YOU VIEW EYE CARE This year, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) celebrates its hundredth year of supporting and empowering Canadians with full or partial vision loss. At FYidoctors, we share in the belief that no Canadian should lose their sight to preventative causes. We pride ourselves on putting patients first because eye care is our primary focus. Our doctor’s have access to advanced technology, such as the Optomap® Retinal Scanner, which allows us to detect potential health issues – including glaucoma, diabetes and even cancer.

See what you’ve been missing and book your next eye exam with FYidoctors.

“We see some really strong relationships coming out of that. Some people have vision mates for years,” Love says. CNIB strives to keep clients engaged at work as well as with career and employment programs. Whether clients are struggling to find work or to stay in their jobs once their vision changes, CNIB offers training to expand work skills as well as help identify solutions that can help visually-impaired employees better do their jobs via their Career Support Program or Assistive Technology Specialists undertaking workplace assessments. This can be as simple as moving their desk out of the glare of lights to make it easier to see or getting a program that reads documents aloud. With a high

Visit to find a location near you!

CNIB | 100 Years | 3

percentage of people with vision loss being unemployed or underemployed, CNIB aims to show that its clients are equally capable of doing the job. Equality and independence are priorities for CNIB, and branches across the country have been advocating for access to materials and opportunities that will keep clients independent, fulfilled and involved in society. With Alberta offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Red Deer, CNIB Alberta/NWT is able to provide assistance and resources to more than 16,000 clients across the province. The staff of 46 in Alberta, seven of whom are visually impaired, along with 264 volunteers work tirelessly to ensure clients have everything they need to succeed and flourish. As CNIB celebrates its 100-year milestone, Love and her team proudly look back at what the organization has accomplished but their eyes are fixed firmly on the future and all there is still left to do. The plan is to continue boosting engagement in the workplace, harnessing the power of technology, and advocating for clients’ rights and supporting their daily needs. “We couldn’t do what we do without our clients so we want to be able to celebrate our 100 years but also celebrate the strides the clients have made in their lives by supporting us,” she says.

Kathy Culhane, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and her guide dog Italy.

There are many ways you can get involved with CNIB and help support people who are blind or partially sighted in your community. You can give financial support through a donation, volunteering or create your own fundraising event with proceeds going to CNIB. Please check out or contact Karen Love at the Calgary office at 1-800-563-2642.

12010 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5K 0P3

It has been an incredible 100 years of progress and empowerment for visually-impaired Canadians at CNIB. Colonel Baker would definitely be proud.

(780) 488-4871

On behalf of the Eye Institute of Alberta and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Alberta...

We would like to

Congratulate The CNIB for 100 years of service to improve the quality of life for our patients with reduced vision. CNIB | 100 Years | 4

christensen & mclean roofing co.

Since 1958


Phil Roy and Chris Ellingson, directors. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt Photography.

CHRISTENSEN & MCLEAN ROOFING CO. LTD. – INDUSTRY LEADERS SINCE 1958 “When you’ve been here for 60 years, there’s a reason” By Nerissa McNaughton

Christensen and McLean Roofing | 60 Years 69

Chris Ellingson, director. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt Photography.


est Edmonton Mall’s Phase 1, Phase 2, and the World Water Park. The Winspear Centre. The Butterdome. The Cross Cancer Institute. What do these and countless other schools, hospitals, shopping malls and industrial buildings in Edmonton and across Alberta have in common? An excellent roof system that has been installed, repaired or re-roofed by Christensen & McLean Roofing Co. Ltd. “My dad was one of the owners,” says Chris Ellingson, director, of how he came to co-helm the company that was launched in 1958. “My father bought out John Christensen in the early ’70s. I had been working here during the summers. I graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) as a building construction engineering technologist in 1984, but the economy wasn’t very good and I couldn’t find a job in my chosen field. I came back to work here and later was invited to take a position in the office.”

Collective Waste Solutions would like to congratulate Christensen and McLean on 60 Years of business excellence and community support. Mac Skylights would like to congratulate Christensen and McLean Roofing on 60 Years of uncompromising quality.

5214 93 Street Northwest | (780) 435-3761 |


60 Years Strong Convoy Supply would like to congratulate Phil, Chris, and the entire team at Christensen & McLean Roofing on 60 years of valuable contribution to the Central and Northern Alberta construction industry. In addition to being a founding member of the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association, your exemplary and ongoing commitment to Work Site Safety, involvement in the Edmonton Construction Association, and contributions to our community have made you outstanding leaders. As friends and fans, we are proud to be an extended part of your team. We wish you continued success and look forward to working with you throughout Northern Alberta for many years to come.


Phil Roy, director. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt Photography.

Phil Roy, also a company director, joined in 1976. “I came here from Winnipeg after taking one year of business administration. With no financial support for further college education, I started looking for a job. My younger brother was working in Edmonton and he liked the area, so I came out here. First, I worked at Eaton’s but one day my brother said someone didn’t show up to work at Christensen & McLean, so I went to help out. That day turned into a year in the field, and then I obtained a position in the office.” From young men looking for good jobs to being co-directors of a thriving company, both are quick to agree on one thing: time flies. Christensen & McLean Roofing Co. Ltd. turns 60 this year. Six decades ago, the company was the dream of two entrepreneurs. Today, the roofing company provides 24/7 leak response, new roofing, re-roofing, maintenance, repair, waterproofing, roof asset management and consulting. Open, ready and willing to respond to roofing emergencies any day of the year, including Christmas and during the Grey Cup, the company has swelled to 146 in the field and 14 in the office, a huge leap from the 40 in the field and six in the office on the day Roy signed on. “We’ve provided a home for a lot of guys’ entire careers here. That is something we are both proud of,” says Ellingson. “Some of the guys have been here for over 20 years, others, for 40. We feel that we have the cream of the crop. We attract top talent, and the good ones stay. There is a lot of loyalty and dedication.” The directors cite both the team and the company’s longstanding reputation as key factors that distinguish them among the competition. Another reason? The company’s absolutely outstanding safety record. “[Safety] is one of the things that we focused on right from the start,” says Roy. “We were one of the first, for our size and longevity in the industry, to hire a full-time safety officer.” While one can drive around Edmonton and see examples of Christensen & McLean Roofing’s exceptional work, you may find yourself under the protection of their signature strong and durable roofing when you travel abroad. After all, who says roofing can’t also be adventurous?


Congratulations Christensen & McLean Roofing on 60 years!

Congratulations to our friends at Christensen & Mclean on 60 years of success! “Trusted since 1978!” DOMESTIC • IMPORT • FLEET

13161 - 159 St, Edmonton AB • 780-447-1052


Christensen and Mclean on 60 Years in business! 17310 – 106 Avenue (780) 426-3375

We wish you many more years of continued success.

Pro-Line construction would like to congratulate Christensen and Mclean Roofing on 60 Years of excellence!

Servicing three distinct markets; Roofing, Insulation and Waterproofing.


“We did a hospital [roofing] job in Siberia, Russia,” confirms Ellingson. “We’ve also tendered work in Brazil, Mexico, and the Bahamas, and we have completed projects for the United States Department of Defense.” “We’ve worked all over the arctic, from coast to coast,” Roy says with excitement. “From Pangnirtung to Tuktoyaktuk and from Whitehorse to Alert (north of the North Pole!)” He remembers the adventure of being in a plane with a bush pilot who had to take three swipes to try and find a fog-shrouded runway in the frosty north. No matter how far they roam, however, Ellingson and Roy ensure that each and every project receives the Christensen & McLean Roofing touch that they have become known for. It doesn’t matter if that project is right here in Edmonton, under the sun in the Caribbean, chilling up north or anywhere in between. The company brings quality, expertise and experience to every job, every time.

West Edmonton Mall water park.


Specializing in Machinery Moving & hoisting 4350 - 82 Avenue • Ph: 780.468.5700

Congratulations Christensen and McLean on 60 years! It has been a complete pleasure to be hoisting material for such a great company for the last 28 years. Keep up the good work. All the best! ~ Cliff MacDonald, Owner of ZACK’s

The Health & Safety Conference Society of Alberta long term sponsor award, presented to Christensen & McLean Roofing Co.

Roy points out, “When you’ve been here for 60 years, there is a reason. We’ve seen a lot of roofing companies come and go. The fact is, you can be a long-term roofer, but that’s different from running a company.” He goes on to note that Christensen & McLean provides expertise both in the field and in the office. A well-run company with happy employees and sound business practices is what makes each project a success. “We care,” stresses Ellingson. “We care about the whole package: the employees, the client and the end result.” The care is seen in the six decades of being one of the most trusted and respected names in the industry – and that’s just the beginning of the company’s journey. “You have to keep moving forward. You can’t stand still or you’ll be going backwards,” Ellingson says. “We stay ahead of the curve in safety, equipment and best practices,” Roy adds. They are not afraid to keep up with any technology or practice, even if it’s new and unfamiliar, as long as it helps the staff do their job better and adds value to the end result. Social media? Electronic time management? Digital safety management? It’s part of the





Proud supplier for your roofing insulation

AND ELLINGSON KNOW WHY THEIR CUSTOMERS KEEP COMING BACK, AND WHY NEW ONES ARE ADDED EVERY YEAR. THE CHRISTENSEN & MCLEAN NAME MEANS TRUST; IT’S A PROMISE OF QUALITY AND SERVICE THAT GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND THE NORM. process. The company started pre-computers, pre-fax machines, pre-emails, predirect deposit and pre-Internet, but every change was explored and embraced to keep the company progressive. With a base of experience and knowledge, a core of ongoing training, a future that embraces new practices and technology and the fact that the company is among the founding members of the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association, setting the standard of roofing in Alberta, Roy and Ellingson know why their customers keep coming back, and why new ones are added every year. The Christensen & McLean name means trust; it’s a promise of quality and service that goes above and beyond the norm. Christensen & McLean Roofing is also known outside of the construction industry for its wide range of community involvement. Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS), the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree, causes their employees are passionate about, donations to local sports teams, supporting the next generation – the company, and everyone within it, loves to give back. For the team, giving back means internally, too. When an employee had to take an extended leave of absence due to a non-work-related injury, the company passed the hat to collect donations, and the management team tripled the amount collected. As 60 years draws to a close, Christensen & McLean Roofing, the present and past management and the teams in the office and the field, have a lot to be proud of. The company has effortlessly moved from decade to decade with finesse, its reputation increasing with each passing year. The management is grateful to the Edmonton Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO Edmonton), the Edmonton Construction Association, the team, vendors, clients, supporters and everyone that helped them reach this anniversary milestone. “When we took over this company, we went, ‘wow,’ laughs Roy. “WCB? Liability insurance? What’s all this? Nobody came and said, ‘this is how you do it.’ We had to learn, and we are still learning.” “But we’re not slowing down,” Ellingson concludes with a smile. “We are seeking growth in a down economy where only the strong survive.” With 60 years come and gone, the strength and vitality of the company is not in question. As the directors are happy to note, “We’ve been successful so far. If we continue to do what we are doing, including recognizing when we need to make adjustments, we will continue to be successful, and we will always continue to care.”


Congratulations Christensen and McLean Roofing for your 60 years in business! Plasti-Fab®, an Alberta-based manufacturer, has been providing EPS insulation used in the construction of buildings to insulate roofs, walls, floors or foundations for 50 years. 16135 - 114 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta (780) 453-3718

christensen & mclean roofing co.

Since 1958


16173 132 Ave NW Edmonton, Alberta T5V 1H8 Phone: 780-447-1672 • Fax: 780-447-2764

Integrated Mechanical congratulates Christensen and McLean Roofing on 60 years of Customer dedication.


Plumbing • Heating • Air Conditioning • Gas Fitting Ph: 780-449-5345 •

Proud GPS Fleet Tracking Supplier to Christensen & McLean Roofing. Happy 60th!

60 Years Strong MNP is proud to congratulate Christensen and McLean Roofing Co. on 60 years of continued success. Contact Brian Alexander at 780.733.8674 or

Toll Free: 855-624-6477 •


FOR EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG UNDER YOUR ROOF, THERE’S THE NUMBER THAT LIVES UNDER OURS. Fifty percent of businesses may never re-open after a disaster. That’s why knowing the easiest way to contact SERVPRO® is so important. Because the sooner you get in touch with us, the quicker we can start to minimize the damage, as well as the cost. Just contact SERVPRO of Calgary South or SERVPRO of Edmonton Southside to activate the cleanup team that’s faster to any-sized disaster. We’re a leader in giving control back to homeowners, property managers and even entire communities after the ravaging effects of water and fire. So whether you’re responsible for 1,000 square feet or 100,000 – it’s your decision to call on the very best. Your trusted, local SERVPRO professional. Services in Canada provided by independently owned & operated franchises of SERVPRO International, LLC.

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1 844 887 6937 | All customers are free to purchase natural gas services from the default supply provider or from a retailer of their choice and to purchase electricity services from the regulated rate provider or from a retailer of their choice. The delivery of natural gas and electricity to you is not affected by your choice. If you change who you purchase natural gas services or electricity services from, you will continue receiving natural gas and electricity from the distribution company in your service area. For a current list of retailers you may choose from, visit or call 310-4822 (toll free in Albea). Some offers, in whole or in pa, may not be available in gas co-ops, municipally owned utilities, and some Rural Electrification Associations.

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