OUR TEAM Editor/Publisher Peter Shokeir Reporter/Sales Jason Stockfish Production Melissa Morris
C O N TA C T Phone: 1-780-852-4888 Fax: 1-780-852-4858 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mailing Address: PO Box 428, Jasper, AB, T0E 1E0
Published by The Jasper Fitzhugh, a division of Aberdeen Publishing (Robert W. Doull, President).
he Jasper Fitzhugh is proud to present our first issue of Peak Jasper, which will become one of our annual publications. Jasper’s new business magazine celebrates our community’s resilience with a focus on the people and businesses that are leading us to the peak of our potential. Travellers from around the world visit Jasper National Park to enjoy the natural wonders, partake in outdoor recreation, feast on cuisine and get an experience of a lifetime. None of this would be possible without the workers and business owners of Jasper. Like the rest of the world, the town has struggled to get back on its feet following two years of living with the COVID-19 pandemic. Jasper was hit especially hard due to primarily being a tourist destination. But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that Alberta and the rest of Canada have begun to lift restrictions, Jasper is poised to have a busy summer season, and with that comes both challenges and opportunities.
These pages will help illustrate how Jasper has been recovering, as well as continues to grow and persevere. A special thanks to all the businesses, organizations and other clients who ran ads in this special publication. With their contribution, Peak Jasper can be distributed for free to Jasper residents and the surrounding community. Look inside to see how Jasper is reaching for the peak of excellence. Peter Shokeir, Editor/Publisher, Jasper Fitzhugh
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON COMMUNITY HEALTH IN DEVISING STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
n May, as Jasper Municipal Council prepared to lay out its strategic priorities, Mayor Richard Ireland spoke of community health as the foundation of discussions. PREPARING FOR WILDFIRES
To address the potential for wildfires, the municipality has been partnering with Parks Canada to mitigate the risk as effectively as possible. Ireland said work is being conducted for fuel reduction efforts to the south in the Maligne Valley and Keith Lakes area across to Old Fort Point and up Signal Mountain. In the Pyramid Bench area, crews are connecting bodies of water and wetlands with fire guards, along with significant fuel reduction efforts to the west, in an attempt to create a fire break. “It’s not just the work on the ground, although that is obviously critical and impressive,” Ireland said. “There is a lot of ongoing work as well in co-ordinating response efforts.” Municipal and Parks’ staff trained with a national co-ordinator for two days in March to be prepared to co-ordinate a response under the Incident Command System, which Ireland said is an equally important part of the relationship with Parks. HOUSING SHORTAGE Another perennial issue for Jasper is housing. “Shelter is foundational not just for the quality of life for residents but it is foundational for community health and stability overall,” Ireland said. Opportunities for future housing in Jasper are found in private development on Connaught that will have shovels in the ground before long and in the potential development of 40-80 public housing units also on Connaught, if public funds are provided and federal approval granted.
Further private sector construction is going up in town, which Ireland said is good for the overall health of the community, and the local government facilitates this construction when it can. “We know that there is a need; it’s an obvious need,” he added. “The most overwhelming need is entrylevel housing. People just need a roof overhead.” Apart from new private and public housing being constructed and under proposal, idea being pursued is the allowance of garage suites in Jasper. The plan doesn’t require the building of high-density apartment buildings and condos, as the proposal utilizes existing space currently leased by residents. INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS Another likely strategic priority for this council will be maintaining relationships with other levels of government. Ireland explained that he would like advocacy to take a more prominent role in the local government’s approach. Such advocacy would include the elimination of land rent, which remains a recognized priority of roughly $600,000 annually that the municipality is required to send to Ottawa under Jasper’s specialized municipality status with the federal government. “We could use that money locally, for means which would presumably help keep taxes down at the local level,” Ireland added. On the topic of obtaining jurisdiction over land use, planning and development, Ireland said the first step is obtaining the Agreement in Principle with Parks Canada “Within the next three and a half years, that is achievable,” Ireland said. “But it means that we have to continue our efforts, I think, relatively aggressively, so that we can get the agreement in principle early (to) leave us enough time
Mayor Richard Ireland stands outside the Library and Cultural Centre before a committee of the whole meeting on May 10. | J.Stockfish photo
to do the transitional work within the time that remains (in the term).” At the provincial level, Ireland noted that council will be advocating for recognition of Jasper’s particular circumstances— much like in Banff and Canmore— as a municipality with a small tax base maintaining the services and infrastructure used by millions of visitors each year. Ireland explained that the provincial government has modifiers it can use in calculating monies it sends to municipalities. One of those modifiers is for communities with a “shadow population”—that is, a community that sees an influx of people from outside of its general population. The province could recognize that Jasper has an almost permanent shadow population of visitors and provides services to meet the visitor demand but is only able to assess property taxes to local residents and businesses. “Simply recognize, once and for all, that Jasper deals with a shadow population all the time…and other levels of government
reap the benefits of taxation (on this shadow population),” Ireland said. “Contributing to our ability to maintain the town at a level that is appropriate as an internationally recognized visitor destination means we should have access to some other tools.” FINDING NEW REVENUE SOURCES There are some values that will continue to underlie council decisions, in particular the equitable distribution of costs and expenses. “Part of that underscores our pursuit of revenue tools, because we think it would be more equitable if visitors contributed more to the services that they use,” Ireland said. “At the same time, we have to proactively plan for reinvestment in our community, particularly our infrastructure. We have to invest in that because that is what is foundational to everything else we do.” The mayor said there were at least three approaches for what an equitable distribution could look like. “Firstly, getting other levels of government out of our pocket.”
Using land rent as an example, Ireland said the roughly $600,000 Jasper sends annually to the receiver general in Ottawa could be used locally for means that would presumably help keep taxes down. Citing the example of the province of Alberta refusing to pay the taxes agreed upon for the provincial building on Patricia Street, Ireland said simply recognizing the province has an obligation to “pay your fair share” is another mechanism of generating revenue required to effectively operate the town. “That’s fundamentally, ethically wrong, to say that because we can, we are going to short pay what would otherwise be our tax bill,” he added. “Nobody else gets to do that… And then the burden falls on the rest of our taxpayers.” While the province can provide money to municipalities through grants, “this isn’t the preferred source of funding, as there are always so many strings attached,” Ireland said. The other opportunity is to provide the municipality with revenue tools. “For example, an environmental levy on sales in Jasper,” the mayor added.
“And we could, as we did with paid parking, perhaps configure an exemption for residents so that we would be drawing revenue from visitors.” Implementing such a levy would mean recognizing that when a visitor comes to Jasper their garbage ends up in the waste system, they use water and wastewater and other municipal infrastructure that requires undue maintenance and increased costs as a result. “I think visitors would understand that they have an obligation not to abuse our environment and to give us the tools necessary to mitigate the impact that they would otherwise have on the environment,” Ireland said. “So, I think something like an environmental levy assessed at the local level is a way to approach our revenue needs that would be seen as compatible with users.” What is needed is a combination of other governments keeping out of Jasper’s pockets, paying their fair share and allowing the municipality to levy a surcharge to visitors. “A combination of all or any of those would satisfy me,” Ireland said.
6 4 PEAKJASPER
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
JOB OPENINGS IN 2022 EXCEED PRE-PANDEMIC NUMBERS
asper has record-level job postings in 2022, and the Jasper Employment and Education Centre ( JEEC) is striving to connect employers with potential employees. At the end of April 2021, JEEC had 677 job postings listed from 325 different employers. By the first week of May, this number was over 700, explained Ginette Marcoux, executive director with JEEC. For comparison, in April 2019, there were 554 job openings posted by 218 employers at JEEC. In 2020, the first year of COVID, available positions were basically nonexistent at 28, as no one was travelling to Jasper or any other destination so few workers were required. April 2021 saw a slight climb in numbers to 149 positions being offered by 104 employers but still a fraction of the positions available before the pandemic hit. Marcoux said the number of employers and available positions was actually higher than the stats showed, because not all employers are using JEEC’s services to advertise their job openings, which is a problem for those wanting accurate information. If employers don’t post their positions, JEEC doesn’t have the numbers needed for labour market analysis from one year to the next, which informs their work and allows them to communicate to employers what to expect, Marcoux added. JEEC also tracks the number of accommodations available for potential employees, as a lack of housing is a major barrier to attracting the workers that a tourism destination such as Jasper demands. As of April 30, there were 586
accommodations available for those considering working in Jasper, which is a significant number but still lower than the 677 positions needing to be filled. “The biggest challenge we’re going to have as a community is our housing situation,” Marcoux said. Even if workers can find a place to lay their heads at the end of the day, Marcoux noted there are other factors at play with the shortage of workers, and employers are going to have to “step up their game” if they want to attract and retain job seekers. “Jasper is a great place to come and play but we need to have a quality of life,” she said. “Workers want a more meaningful life so they can actually enjoy the mountains and actually enjoy living in Jasper.” In Marcoux’s estimation, workers’ attitudes have changed in the last couple of years. “They’re going to work hard, but they aren’t going to work 16-hour days, seven days a week anymore,” she said. “I think that ship has sailed.” Marcoux argued employers must find ways to ensure employees have opportunities to play, because people don’t come to Jasper just to work, as they can do that in many other locations. “I think it’s going to be important to really think about that quality of life to make sure that we’re not asking so much of our employees that it burns them out,” she added. “And (employers should ask) what are the things they are doing to attract staff to their business.” Attraction retention strategies, such as bonuses if you stay until the end of the season, will be important for keeping staff moving forward.
“The one thing I would say that is really exciting about the hospitality industry right now is that it is an employee-driven job market and it is the land of opportunity,” Marcoux said. “It kind of reminds me of when I came here in the ‘70s. If you worked hard and had a good attitude, you moved up the ladder quickly.” Marcoux said that she believes wages need to come up in many of the vacant job postings. However, she acknowledged that the pandemic has been hard on employers. “I do also understand that businesses have been through two difficult years,” she said. “But (they) are going to have to really, carefully evaluate how important it is to get staff.” Another initiative that Marcoux said she hopes the business community will recognize as important is equity, diversity and inclusion. “I think we really need to think about providing opportunities to everyone and anyone that’s interested in those opportunities.” Marcoux said if employers are not promoting the staff who are qualified, they will lose the employee to another employer who recognizes their abilities and qualifications. “We need to make sure (employees) aren’t worked to the bone, that they’re adequately paid (and) when they work hard, they are recognized through benefits or perks,” she added. “We need to do some real soul searching on how we’re going to promote the people that have stayed with us and give them more opportunities and responsibilities.”
PETER SHOKEIR | EDITOR@FITZHUGH.CA
TOURISM JASPER FORECASTING STRONG SUMMER The forecast is looking sunny for tourism in Jasper this summer after two years of travel restrictions and other challenges brought on by the pandemic. James Jackson, president and CEO of Tourism Jasper, explained how Jasper was seeing solid tour bookings that were being realized from 2020 and 2021. There is also strong demand from the United States and other international markets, while roughly half of Canadians are still not ready to travel abroad. “What that will do is it will create compression in town between the domestic and international markets for what will be a very strong tourist season,” Jackson said. “So, we expect visitor volume and occupancy to be on par or above 2019.” While the labour shortage makes meeting this demand difficult, Jackson noted that Jasper wasn’t the only place experiencing these challenges. “Having said that, we’ve undertaken a one-of-its-kind, or first-of-its-kind, labour attraction campaign to drive interest in working in Jasper, focused on Ontario and Quebec in both French and English,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to mitigate the situation, at least in the shortto-medium term.” Tourism Jasper remains in close contact with local and provincial authorities to stay on top of any developments with the pandemic and where policy is headed. Jackson said they would have various scenarios prepared for its upcoming events such as the Dark Sky Festival and Jasper in January.
James Jackson, president and CEO of Tourism Jasper, stands outside the Tourism Jasper office. J.Stockfish photo
“We’re fairly confident the summer season will be sort of open, per say, but as we approach the fall, if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for any circumstance.” Jackson acknowledged how devastating, both financially and mentally, the last two years had been for local businesses, and that government programs such as wage subsidies were more than welcomed to help these businesses get through the pandemic. “Business owners have done an incredible job of leading with resilience and leading with community minds at first and really
taking care of their employees and their neighbours and their colleagues,” he said. “But I think everyone is really looking forward to driving some significant revenue into their businesses to try and mitigate… debt they’ve incurred.” Even though the tourist season is looking strong, Jackson said his organization has never taken visitation for granted and continues to promote the destination. “We’re already focused on 2023 and 2024, so we really have to think threedimensionally about driving Jasper’s visitor economy, both today and two or three years for now.”
8 6 PEAKJASPER
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
PARKS CANADA HIGHLIGHTS 2021 P arks Canada held its Annual Forum in April and staff highlighted progress from 2021 and set out priorities for 2022. Jasper Field Unit Superintendent Alan Fehr opened up the public forum with a year in review address. After major renovations to Whistlers Campground, Fehr explained the facility will reopen in 2022, for what is expected to be a busy summer in Jasper National Park ( JNP). Over 200 kilometres of trail maintenance was completed in high-use day hiking and backcountry trails, including portions of the Brazeau, Tonquin Valley and Skyline trails. In addition to trail maintenance, a bridge on the Dorothy-Virl-Christine Lake trail was also replaced and work has been completed on the repairing of the Sunwapta Falls footbridge. Another highlight Fehr pointed out was the continuation of an advisory group made up of members of Jasper’s Indigenous partners who have been providing guidance on the renaming of Parks Canada’s sites carrying the name “Pocahontas.” With consensus, the advisory partners recommended the name “Miette” as an interim replacement name, which went into effect in January 2022. Fehr added that “the work will continue with our Indigenous partners to identify a permanent name that is culturally and historically appropriate.” Another important initiative was the construction of the Jasper Indigenous Exhibit on the front lawn of the Information Centre. “The exhibit will feature a bronze sculpture, pathway, seating and artwork and information panels telling the important stories in the words of our Indigenous partners of the forced removal and exclusion of Indigenous peoples from Jasper National Park,” Fehr said. As the federal department tasked with the responsibility of environmental stewardship of national parks in Canada, “protecting, monitoring, conserving and restoring ecological integrity remains a key priority in the management of the Park,” Fehr explained. In August 2021, the federal government announced it was allocating $24 million in funding for caribou conservation in Jasper.
Along with monitoring caribou populations, Parks is proposing the development of a conservation breeding program in Jasper National Park to help rebuild caribou populations. Detailed design work and impact assessment are underway, which include consultation with Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the public. Jean-Francois Bisaillon, manager of the caribou recovery program, explained that engagements have also begun with Indigenous partners on the creation of a breeding centre. Further consultation on the project with stakeholders and the public will continue through the summer. If approved, the construction of the breeding centre could begin as early as this winter. The first capture of caribou is planned in early 2025 with the first anticipated release of young caribou into the Tonquin in 2026. “We’re hoping that the Tonquin herd can reach 200 in the next five-10 years,” Bisaillon said. “Before we get there, we will invite your feedback on the detailed impact assessment and the project in general.” The next step is to finalize the impact assessment, continue consulting with Indigenous partners and get feedback from the public before making a decision on the project. Despite the challenges, Bisaillon said the initiative was exciting with the potential to be successful. “Our vision really is to recover these herds so that they become plentiful and resilient over time,” he said. “JNP would become known for its successful recovery of caribou and where people can experience and see these majestic animals in their natural habitat.” Another important ecological integrity program Parks continues to work on is the restoration of the white bark pine, which is an endangered species, and whose presence is vital to the health of the alpine ecosystem. Fehr noted the white bark pine is affected by mountain pine beetle, white pine blister
rust (an invasive species), fire suppression efforts and climate change. Starting in 2015, over 20,000 seedlings were planted in high alpine areas, 8,000 of which were planted in 2021. Fehr explained that Parks began conducting a comprehensive vegetation inventory of JNP, which will, for the first time, amass vegetation types across the entire 11,000-square-kilometre area of the park. Once completed, the inventory ”will help assess impacts of mountain pine beetle on forests, locate sensitive vegetation and track changes over time,” Fehr said. Fire Management Officer Katie Ellsworth offered an update on Parks Canada’s wildfire risk reduction program. Ellsworth opened her presentation stating that safety is the foundation of all of Parks’ actions, and that its approach is “based on modelling and science and continually adapted based on climate change modelling to ensure a fire-resistant landscape.” The most current Natural Resources Canada modelling is P3 analysis—prediction, probability and potential. “A final and updated model will provide fire managers an estimation of the relative risk of wildfire, combining the effects of weather, fuel, topography and ignition sources (which) will be completed shortly,” Ellsworth said. Parks is taking a three-pronged approach to protecting the community and the national park. The first prong is the creation of a landscape-level fireguard. The second is a continued partnership with the municipality to undertake FireSmart work adjacent to the townsite. And the third is wildfire risk reduction work on Parks Canada’s commercial infrastructure. Ellsworth said the highest risk to the town of Jasper is an out-of-control wildfire advancing from the west out of the Miette Valley or from the east up the Maligne Valley. To the west “a fire guard employs all of the fire prevention tools available” to create a four-kilometre guard at its widest offering fuel breaks between lakes and wetlands, Ellsworth explained.
Plans are in the works to complete the Pyramid Bench lakes prescribed fire—which is a series of six prescribed fires—to finalize the link between the wet areas and the fuel free areas. The last part of the guard is the community fireguard, along the Cabin Lake fire road. This area will be a fuel-free area that will be maintained with brushing and prescribed fire every two to three years. Fire prevention efforts to the east are similar, where “a combination of fire management treatments to establish a zone of modified forest fuels will be employed,” Ellsworth said. The goal of this guard is to enhance protection of the town, the residents of Lake Edith and the Jasper Park Lodge. “Mechanical treatment in the Keith Lakes area is the anchorpoint for this Signal Mountain guard,” Ellsworth added. “Its placement is key in protecting the community from fires starting in the Maligne Valley by using machinery and onthe-ground manpower starting in winter of 2022, where crews will conduct a spacing of the canopy up to 30 metres wide.”
Section two of the guard goes from Old Fort Point to the top of Signal and will be cut by hand. The intention is that these guards will enable fire management staff to plan for prescribed fires in the long term. The next prong of the program is to continue risk reduction in town and on roads and around resorts outside of town, Ellsworth said. Looking to reduce risk, Parks worked at Whistlers Campground and other sites to reduce fuel and open spaces in a FireSmart way. Ellsworth said some trees were removed in cultural areas after discussion with Indigenous peoples. Parks is also restoring Douglas Fir trees in town which is a fire-resistant species. Superintendent Fehr explained that after two years of COVID, management planning efforts are moving forward with phase two consultation with Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the public on the management of the Park. A Management Plan establishes strategic direction to guide management and operation of the park for a ten year horizon, said Fehr.
Consultations for the plan received feedback from 22 different Indigenous partner groups, 17 stakeholder groups and over 2400 comments and letters were received. Fehr explained “this feedback was used to refine the final plan that is anticipated to be approved and tabled in Parliament this year.” There are six key strategies in the plan: 1) Conserving natural and cultural heritage for future generations 2) True to place experiences 3) Strengthening Indigenous relations 4) Connect, collaborate and learn together 5) Managing development 6) Climate change and adaptation “All of the staff look forward to continuing to work together with the public to enjoy, protect, appreciate, learn about and steward JNP,” Fehr said. “We will continue to build relationships with residents and visitors of Jasper, with Indigenous partners and with Canadians who trust us with this special place.”
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
MUSEUM HAS A CALENDAR FULL OF EVENTS TO ENJOY IN 2022
nticipating what is certain to be a whirlwind tourism season for Jasper, Rob Hubick, general manager of the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives, discussed programs and exhibits on the organization’s 2022 calendar. “In early June, we’re going to have an exhibit in partnership with Wendy Wacko and the Mountain Galleries and the group, Guardians of the Ice, creating an exhibit revolving around Robert Sandford’s book, ‘Vanishing Glaciers,’” Hubick said. “It’s going to be an art exhibit. Wendy’s going to be commissioning around 16 pieces from artists that she works with, and we’re going to be incorporating images from a camera at the Athabasca (Glacier) that has been taking still shots since 2012, indicating how fast the glacier has been receding.” In June, the annual boutique Gran Fondo bike race, put on by MultiSportsCanada, made its return after a pandemic hiatus and raised funds for the museum. This event did not happen before publish time. There will be summer camps for children in July and August. The kids’ camps are weeklong, with different themes, Hubick explained. In years past, the children have participated in activities such as learning about plants and gardening at the community garden with Matricia Bauer, as well as learning about Indigenous culture and history. These camps have been well received and successful in the past, Hubick noted. In 2021, the museum was able to provide funding to six children so they could take part in the camp. The camps will be for children ages nine to 12 and potentially six to eight if student grant funding comes through. With September comes the crowdpleasing annual duck race and this year’s event is marking a milestone. “This will be the 30th anniversary of the duck race, and we’re hoping to do something bigger for that,” Hubick said. In the month of October, artist Sylvie
Rob Hubick is the general manager of the JasperYellowhead Museum and Archives. | J.Stockfish photo
Bernard will be putting on an exhibit to coordinate with the Dark Sky Festival. As Dark Sky Month ends, preparation for the museum’s largest fundraising event of the year, the Festival of Trees, will begin. “We finish off the year with (the Festival of Trees), which runs from the middle of November to the middle of December,”’ Hubick said. In addition to these events and exhibits, the museum has commissioned local Indigenous artist Mackenzie Brown to create a mural at the museum in 2022. Hubick also said funding has been raised to design a plaque to go with the Kookum, the bronze sculpture in front of the museum, which was designed in 2017 by Crystal C. Mossing. The sculpture depicts an Indiginenous woman gathering food and honours the Aseniwuche Winewak people as the original residents of Jasper. The museum will be working with the Aseniwuche Winewak people to ensure the plaque explains what the sculpture truly represents. Also on the agenda, but still in the planning stages, is an installation of sorts on the empty grounds of the museum.
“We’ve been looking to create an outdoor exhibit,” Hubick said. Hubick explained that they were looking to determine what is being constructed by Parks Canada beside the Information Centre before deciding on a final design and concept for the museum’s exhibit. “We’re just in the beginning stages, but I think that’ll be interesting over the next couple of years to see where we go with that.” As a not-for-profit, fundraising and donors are integral to keeping the museum alive and well. “We’re trying to get back on schedule again to some type of normalcy,” Hubick said. Hubick explained that each year the organization receives approximately $60,000 to $70,000 in fundraising. The museum also generates revenue with its retail, including books and other items. The space at the museum is available to be rented as well, which helps the organization succeed financially. Events such as “Stories from the Mountains” have been successful for the organization, and Hubick noted that due to demand talks for 2023 are already lined up. The organization benefits not just from the strong support and funding it receives from Jasper residents but also from members abroad. “We have members across North America (and the globe) who frequently join in a coffee hour online,” Hubick said. In addition to individual memberships, Hubick explained that corporate memberships are becoming popular with businesses offering the perk so their staff can enjoy the exhibits. Private citizen donations are also an important source of funding, and the museum has been accepting donations from visitors, rather than collecting admission, monitoring to see if the charitable model brings in more or less revenue. The fundraising efforts will start up again quickly in 2023 with the annual Whiskey, Wine and Hops Festival, where a portion of the tickets and coat check is donated to the organization.
FAIRMONT JASPER PARK LODGE PROVIDES BLISSFUL RETREAT FOR GUESTS AND LOCALS ALIKE Are you looking to escape your daily routine and life’s stresses? Luckily, there’s no need to endure seemingly endless lines at airports, hours of restless discomfort on airplanes or inflated gas prices to find such bliss. With the #1 Spa in Alberta, the top-rated resort golf course in the country, year-round outdoor activities for all, and some of the finest cuisine this side of the Continental Divide, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge offers stress-free staycation experiences just minutes from the Jasper townsite. Offering an outdoor pool and hot tub, eucalyptus steam room, Finnish-style sauna, and a private lounge with delectable snacks and refreshing beverages overlooking the water, the spa is the perfect way to relax, rejuvenate and unwind. Whether you’re in need of pain or stress relief, or you’re simply seeking peace and calm, the province’s finest spa provides therapeutic and aromatherapy massage treatments to alleviate all.
Relax as a skilled technician provides a luxurious mani/pedi, a soothing facial, an enriching body wrap at the spa or a stylish cut at the newly relocated Wild Orchid Salon. For those seeking outdoor adventures, the JPL offers activities for every season. In the warmer months, JPL has canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals to enjoy the crystal clear glacial waters in and around the resort. It is also home to the award winning Jasper Park Lodge golf course - built in 1925, it was designed by famed course architect Stanley Thompson and is regularly considered the #1 resort golf course in Canada by SCOREGolf Magazine. Standing upon the course’s elevated tee boxes aligned with majestic peaks in the backdrop, golfers take in stunning panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies as they enjoy 18 beautifully groomed fairways and meticulously manicured greens, dotted with dramatic bunkers strategically placed throughout. The renowned course provides sublime sights at every turn and golfers are reminded of Jasper’s natural beauty as elk and deer often meander across fairways and black and grizzly bears feed on the rough. After your round, stop by the newly-opened Thompson’s Terrace for greek-inspired fare overlooking the course. During the winter, Lake Mildred is transformed into a magical, frozen playground and cross-country skis, snowshoes and ice skates are available to rent for those looking to take advantage of the winter wonderland. A day of adventure or relaxation at JPL
would not be complete without a dining experience at one of the many onsite restaurants, all of which offer authentic local meals prepared with the finest of ingredients. Upon entering the resort, guests find themselves at the entrance to the Emerald Lounge, a comfortable, modern space home to a century of fond memories. Further into the spectacular building is the Great Hall, a magnificently historic setting with a roaring fireplace, restaurant and patio offering Afternoon Tea, lunch, and dinner a la carte. Both offer spectacular views of Lac Beauvert and the surrounding mountains, and are the perfect places to enjoy cocktails, craft beer (including the JPL Premium Lager) and an exquisite meal. Orso Trattoria, the Northern-Italian inspired restaurant, offers diners postcard panoramas while indulging in sophisticated menus using traditional recipes, rotating seasonal dishes, just harvested ingredients and the finest steaks. New this summer, the Nook Smokehouse offers a premium dinner buffet and a la carte menu featuring house-smoked Alberta meats, fresh sides and colourful salads, charcuterie and house-made dressings, condiments & BBQ sauces. Whatever you’re looking for in an escape, the Fairmont JPL allows you to treat yourself to a stress-free getaway catered to your desires. Not only can your holiday begin now, but residents of Jasper enjoy a 20 percent discount on many of JPL’s services. For more information, visit www.fairmont. com/jasper or contact the hotel directly at 780852-3301.
Christopher Read, director ofPEAKJASPER Community Development with the Municipality of Jasper, poses on the steps of a playhouse at the Community Outreach Services building. J.Stockfish photo
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT HELPING TO WEAVE THE FABRIC OF JASPER
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
n February, looking to improve services for residents, the Municipality of Jasper amalgamated the departments of Culture and Recreation and Community Family Services into a new entity, the Department of Community Development. Creating a new department out of existing ones requires relevant experience, capable leadership and a strong team, which is why former Jasper resident Christopher Read was offered the position as the director of Community Development. For more than a decade, Read was the Fitness and Aquatic Centre manager with the Municipality of Jasper. In 2012, Read left Jasper to take a position with the Town of Hinton as the Parks, Recreation, and Culture manager, a position he held for almost three years. From there, he gained over five and a half years of relevant experience as the director of Community Services for Yellowhead County. Prior to his return to Jasper, Read was the chief administrative officer in Clearwater County. In his first few months running the new department, Read admitted some reorienting was necessary but added that productive relationships had been established. “The people within the team have responded incredibly well,” Read said. “I think council has responded really supportively. And the community. I can’t believe how many people have extended good wishes to me.” “It has been really wonderful, heartwarming, humbling and a bit intimidating. A lot of people have a lot of expectations,” he added. Now that he has settled, everything feels right in his new role in his old home. “It’s super fun. I’m exactly where I’d hoped to be.” In discussing the vision required for the newly-created department to find success, Read offered his thoughts. “What we’re doing is saying, ‘We are all of it’. We are the Community Development department,” he said. “How can we use that positioning to create wins for our community?” Embracing existing strengths is key to success, explained Read, who used Community Outreach Services as an example. “When you walk into the outreach office, you are met with, in essence, ‘How can I help?’”
Read said he wants to see that approach translated across the new department. “As ‘we are all things’, we are everything in the community development realm, (and) you should be able to get empathy across the board at a certain empathetic standard.” Creativity is another trait Read wants integrated into Community Development. The department has tangible new projects it is undertaking, such as the new ice plant. “But there is no magic wand. We have a few projects that are ongoing in both previous separate departments and they all require their own amount of set time,” said Read. “Part of my job tasking is to look at—as we combine the two departments—what’s the best, most efficient use of the people that we have; the strengths, the assets that everybody brings to the table and then combining… the hard services into the community development model.” While Jasper is a town of less than 5,000 residents, the department’s vision is not limited in scope. “We don’t have small town blinders on. We are absolutely wide open to every opportunity,” Read said. He explained a key element to realizing Jasper’s potential is the effective and efficient utilization of existing properties. “Can we find a way to align the various buildings that we have access to? Can we find ways to allow people easy, clear, concise… access to these spaces?” Citing the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre as an example, Read doesn’t believe there is just one way to maximize use of that space—rather, “there are about 1,000 ways.” Read noted that Habitat for the Art is a vibrant partner of the municipality that offers outside services within a municipal property at great benefit to the community.
Whether in the recreation centre or the library and cultural centre, empty or underutilized space is not beneficial to residents or the municipality as there are still costs associated with keeping the building operational. “So, in a year from now, culturally, my target is more vibrancy, more events, more connectivity to the community,” Read said. “When I think of community development, I think of a quilt or a woven blanket. We are weaving the fabric of this community.” Read said that he and his staff are working in concert with many community partners. The list of partners is long, with Habitat for the Arts, the library, minor sports, the gymnastics program, the Legion, the seniors centre and the curling and dart clubs being but a few. In admiration for the community, Read praised the many assets, the many threads, that make up the fabric of Jasper. “They’re so vibrant, so bright, so colourful and so different and unique,” he said. “And yet, we all are trying to build a better Jasper every day. It’s a magical place to be.”
PETER SHOKEIR | EDITOR@FITZHUGH.CA
STRONG OUTLOOK FOR HOTELS THIS SUMMER Jasper’s hotels can look forward to a busy summer season as the economy continues to recover and travel restrictions loosen. Richard Cooper is the director of operations for Jasper Lodging with Pursuit. He also replaced Ralph Melnyk as president of the Jasper Hotel Association after Melnyk retired and was elected to Jasper Municipal Council. “The hotel association is essentially a collaboration of hoteliers who come together to discuss collective challenges and how best to approach them from a view within Jasper but beyond that as well,” Cooper said. Cooper acknowledged that the last two years had been difficult for the industry and required “strong conviction” from all of Jasper’s hotels. “Jasper and the hotels in particular can be extremely proud of how we’ve been resilient through the last two years for sure,” he said. “The business outlook is extremely strong. As we look towards the summer, we see the return of rail, tour group businesses as well as the individual traveller, and those will now be coming not only domestically but internationally as well.” In terms of advocacy, the association is looking at the hiring piece, as the economic recovery outpaces the employer’s ability to find employees. “The Jasper hotels are very much in that boat,” Cooper said. The association has been working with Tourism Jasper, which has been making job seekers aware that Jasper was a destination to both live and work, and has advocated to open up the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. A lack of housing has traditionally been the main obstacle for attracting workers to Jasper. Cooper said hotels were among the best-
positioned businesses in town to provide staff accommodation, but the issue will likely come to the forefront again as guest volumes return to normal levels. The Jasper Hotel Association has been working with Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper to create a longterm strategy that would address staff accommodations. “We walk down the path of being a worldclass destination, and we need to be able to provide world-class service, and in order to provide world-class service, we need to provide the staff that provide that,” Cooper said. Jasper will also see its first new hotel since 1983. Pursuit is opening the Forest Park Hotel that will be located at the edge of town and connected to the former Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre, turning the two hotels into one. Pursuit says it will convert 27 rooms from the neighbouring Marmot Lodge into staff accommodation. “The development of the hotel and development of the staff rooms associated with that actually exceeds the capacity of what’s required to run the hotel, so we’ll actually be putting beds into the housing community, as it were,” Cooper said.
Richard Cooper, president of the Jasper Hotel Association, stands in front of the Lobstick Lodge on April 5. | P.Shokeir photo
JASPER AND THE HOTELS IN PARTICULAR CAN BE EXTREMELY PROUD OF HOW WE’VE BEEN RESILIENT THROUGH THE LAST TWO YEARS FOR SURE
WE KNOW THE DANGER SEASON IS COMING
PETER SHOKEIR | EDITOR@FITZHUGH.CA PEAKJASPER
17 15 19
Jasper Fire Chief Mathew Conte in front of an engine at the Emergency Services Building on April 21. | P.Shokeir photo
JASPER FIRE DEPARTMENT PREPS FOR DANGER SEASON Jasper Fire Chief Mathew Conte gave an update regarding what the Jasper Fire Department has been busy with and what he expects regarding the summer. Overall, he described everything as going smoothly. “Call responses are down a little bit right now, which is good, but we expect that obviously to increase once the tourist season kind of arrives and we see more people coming in,” Conte said. “We know the danger season is coming, not just wildfire danger but even tourist time and busier call volumes and everything else, so we’re just kind of getting prepared and ready for it.” Last summer saw Jasper break historic heat records.
Conte said it was too early to say what this year would bring, but as of April, there was a good snowpack on the mountains. “Really going to come down to what the temperatures are going to do and if we’re going to see a lot of perspiration in the spring or not, but I imagine at a certain point, we will be in kind of that extreme weather again, so we’ll plan and prepare as time dictates.” The fire department focuses on structural protection within the townsite and helps respond to motor vehicle collisions all over the national park and into British Columbia. Anything else is on an as-needed basis. Conte began his role more than a year ago in May 2021, back when
the department was still doing online training and meetings due to COVID. “That all kind of went away in the summer, and we started back to in-person training and getting to know everybody,” he said. In April, the department wrapped up its Fuel Reduction Program and recruitment session that will bring in new members. In May, it was busy with Emergency Preparedness Week and CommunityWide FireSmart Day. The department is also updating Jasper’s Emergency Management Plan and working with Parks Canada on a new version of an evacuation plan for the municipality and the national park.
SHOKEIR | EDITOR@FITZHUGH.CA 16 1PETER 4 PEAKJASPER 18
Only 21 per cent of total visitation in the winter sort of speaks for itself.
JASPER STRIVING TO BECOME WINTER DESTINATION Marmot Basin is one of the main winter attractions for Jasper. | P.Shokeir photos
Jasper has historically been a summer destination for tourists, but efforts are underway to market the community as a winter getaway. James Jackson, president and CEO of Tourism Jasper, said about 79 per cent of visitation to Jasper was in the summer preCOVID with only 21 per cent of visits in the winter. “So, that tells you how much traffic is coming in during the peak season,” Jackson said. Jackson noted several reasons why Jasper has historically had low visitation levels in the winter, such as rail service and international tours only operating in the summer. The weather, geography, topography and other challenges of being in the mountains also contribute to this trend. The Icefields Parkway, in particular, experiences frequent delays and closures because of avalanche conditions.
“Even 30 years ago, Highway 16 wasn’t as well developed as it is now, so I think there’s a lot of history and legacy as to why Jasper was historically a seasonal town,” Jackson said. Winter traffic has begun to increase in recent years, peaking in 2016 and staying flat between 2017 and 2019. While the COVID caused a decline, visitation has already recovered to 2019 levels. The main lulls in tourism typically occur during mid-week in winter and the shoulder periods in November and early April, but the holiday season does contribute to strong visitation in late December and early January. In the summer, the visitor mix is predominately longer haul—over 50 per cent of summer visitors are from out of province—and those numbers have consistently grown over the years with the exception of the pandemic era.
“Western culture is really built around summer vacation, so that’s really when we see visitation peak across North America and Europe, for obvious reasons,” Jackson said. “Only 21 per cent of total visitation in the winter sort of speaks for itself.” However, Jackson emphasized that this indicated an opportunity for expansion and the growth potential that Jasper has in the winter. A WORLD-CLASS ATTRACTION Jasper National Park features a number of world-class winter attractions, most notably the Marmot Basin ski resort. “Marmot Basin has the highest base elevation of any Canadian ski resort,” Jackson said. “That’s a massive asset, and that will continue to be a massive asset for years and years to come, especially as climate change unfortunately impacts the industry, predominantly in the States.”
Brian Rode, vice-president of Marmot Basin, said the ownership has committed to ensure the ski resort remains a worldclass attraction by investing significant dollars into the infrastructure. Snowmaking, for example, is a multimillion-dollar investment that ensures Marmot Basin can open annually in midNovember. “That had a huge impact economically for not only Marmot Basin but our community to be able to ensure that we can offer skiing and bring people up here two weeks to a month earlier than we would have prior to snowmaking,” Rode said. The traffic generated from skiing also generates economic benefits for businesses in Edmonton and along the Yellowhead Highway. When it comes to attracting international visitors, the biggest challenges are promoting a general awareness and ease of access. “Our job is to convince them that it’s worth that extra time to get here, and to coin a phrase, ‘Paradise ain’t cheap,’ and the cost to Jasper is taking that little bit of extra time to go that little bit of extra distance to get to this very special place,” Rode said. While Jasper may be four hours away from the nearest major urban centre, the silver lining is the lack of large crowds and transient traffic. “There is a reason that we are one of the least crowded ski destinations of our size in North America, and people appreciate that,” Rode said. “Sure, they have to travel that four hours instead of just flying right into a major airport that’s one hour from a ski area—that’s the paradigm, that’s the norm—but for the people who come here, they’re happy to take that extra time to get here to discover that they own the mountain, that it’s uncrowded, that Jasper is not an over-commercialized, overpopulated, typical resort.” Rode emphasized that Marmot Basin had the “ski area” part of the product, but other businesses in Jasper—such as restaurants and hotels—help provide the rest of the Jasper experience for visiting skiers and snowboarders. “Many of them will choose Jasper, especially the international visitors, because we have good skiing complimented by the amenities in Jasper and complemented by other activities that they can do when they are not on the slopes.”
BEYOND THE SLOPES Non-skiers can enjoy Maligne Canyon, which Jackson described as a “one of the most authentic and rugged experiences you could ever have the privilege of doing,” plus all the other outdoor recreation opportunities that Jasper has to offer. “The destination itself is so well-positioned for winter recreation,” Jackson said. “I just think we have a ton of growth potential here, and at least on Tourism Jasper’s side of things, we’ll definitely continue to invest in it.” The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is also open year-round and represents the “quintessential Canadian experience” with the log cabins on the shores of a frozen lake that can be skated on. Besides recreation, another reason to visit Jasper in the winter is for rejuvenation. “That’s really people trying to escape their day-to-day lives, get a break, relax and sort of re-energize,” Jackson said. The third main reason for a winter visit is for connection. This approach encourages groups to host meetings, conventions, reunions and other in-person events that people are hungering for after two years of lockdowns and social distancing. There is also free parking downtown and competitive hotel rates during the winter, plus activity discounts and promotions. Winter events include Jasper in January, Christmas in November and the Beer and Spirits Festival, with the Jasper Pride & Ski
Festival and the Jasper Canadian Rockies Half Marathon occurring in early spring. “Throughout the winter, there’s a number of events, and I think those are great incentives for folks to come down,” Jackson said. AN AUTHENTIC MOUNTAIN TOWN Tourism Jasper typically spent a majority of its market budget focusing on winter promotion prior to the pandemic with the goal of positioning Jasper as a four-season destination. Jackson said they would love to see Parks Canada receive more funding to better service Highway 93 between Jasper and Lake Louise. “Apart from that, I think the biggest game changer would be year-round air service from the U.S. and Europe into Edmonton International Airport,” he added. “Because of the challenges of Highway 93, it can be challenging to get consistent and safe driving conditions from Calgary, but we can be much more predictable with the road conditions from Edmonton.” While the isolation can be a challenge, Jasper is able to be one of the few remaining authentic towns with a major ski resort in Canada if not the world. “If visitors want to experience that authentic mountain culture, world-class ski destination and ski terrain and explore the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies with no crowds or lines to get in your way, then there’s no better place than Jasper.”
20 PEAKJASPER 18
PETER SHOKEIR | EDITOR@FITZHUGH.CA
We’re open for business, so please come on down.
LIBRARY BEGINS MOVING BACK TO IN-PERSON PROGRAMMING
he Jasper Municipal Library is preparing to turn the page on a chaotic era as it eyes the upcoming summer and a return to normal. “It has been a challenge, but in good ways too,” said Angie Thom, director of library services. “It’s certainly made you look at what is the core use of the library when you’re not open to the public, and I can honestly say Jasper is a community of readers.” Reading statistics set records for several months during the pandemic when many residents were stuck at home with nothing to do, but Thom added how Jasper had always been a high-use community for physical books. “During the pandemic, there were times that they couldn’t access our collection, but they adapted,” she said. “They went to ebooks, they went to
e-audiobooks, that kind of thing, but when the doors are open, they like to be here, so we’re pleased to see them.” In-person programming was briefly suspended as physical distancing could not be ensured, but some of these programs have since returned, including Saturday Storytime and its Writer-in-Residence program. The library is now focused on developing its Summer Reading Program, which is in-person programming for school-aged children, and would continue to offer Saturday Storytime for preschoolers. Thom explained how the library catered to children in the summer, since most local adults were busy in the summer with outdoor activities, although more tourists drop by. The Jasper Municipal Library is a member of Yellowhead Regional Library and is thus able to accommodate interlibrary loans, which is a great boon to the
local library, given the limited space for physical materials. “Library service in Alberta is very interconnected, so even if you can’t find something in our system, there is the relay system, which gives you connection to most of the public libraries in Alberta,” Thom said. The library’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, with it being closed on Sunday and Monday. These hours are expected to remain until the end of the year. Thom invited the public to visit if they had any questions, wanted specific material or were looking for a corner to work, study or listen to music. “We’re open for business, so please come on down.”
22 20 PEAKJASPER
A MESSAGE FROM MARTIN LONG MLA for West Yellowhead and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism
ourism season is approaching fast, and our government has been working behind the scenes to make sure Alberta is ready to deliver. This year, we are experiencing a massive uptick in occupancy rates, air traffic, and food and beverage sales. We are laser-focused on making Alberta the best place to visit, and our team has designed ambitious new programs to target investment in this key economic sector. Recently, we unveiled Project Bootstrap, an action-based strategy which will help tourism operators deliver new experiences for Alberta’s visitors. Project Bootstrap expands Travel Alberta’s mandate and increases funding by an additional $63 million. For years, Travel Alberta has played a major role in promoting our beautiful landscape and our unique culture. This funding will position them to enhance visitor experience, bringing huge benefits to businesses in our region. Small businesses form the backbone of Alberta’s communities. With the help of stakeholders, we’ve developed key initiatives to support business owners and fill the gaps in our labour force due to Alberta’s rapid economic recovery. We are also working hard to help meet the demand for affordable housing, and I will advocate every day to ensure my constituents’ needs and concerns are being heard.
Under the direction of Alberta’s affordable housing strategy, Stronger Foundations, we are bringing housing to 25,000 more Albertans, increasing the total number served by 40%. Community assessment is a key part of Stronger Foundations, and so we are working with municipalities to ensure new projects meet their communities’ needs. Through the Alberta at Work initiative, we are investing $600 million over three years to support workers and help them succeed in a rapidly changing job market. We remain focused on cutting regulatory red tape, lowering corporate taxes, and welcoming investment into Alberta with the goal of creating an atmosphere of opportunity in Alberta once again. In fact, we have not only gained back all the jobs lost during the pandemic, but surpassed pre-pandemic employment levels. Alberta at Work will build on that momentum by removing barriers and helping Albertans take advantage of our economic boom. Right now, Alberta is the place to be, whether you’re investing in local business or taking your family on a vacation to the Rockies. Thanks to our Alberta-first strategies, we are leading the nation in economic growth, and we expect that to continue. Martin Long, MLA West Yellowhead
A MESSAGE FROM YELLOWHEAD MP GERALD SOROKA As the Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, I am pleased to congratulate the Jasper Fitzhugh for their first ever business magazine called Peak Jasper, which celebrates Jasper’s resilience to push forward and persevere in the face of unprecedented economic challenges while focusing on the beauty of Jasper and its vibrant, bustling community of people and businesses that continue to spearhead Alberta’s tourism and economic advancement. It has been a pleasure to watch Jasper, alongside my constituents comprising the Yellowhead electoral district, come together to help their neighbours, and rebuild a stronger, brighter Jasper following the challenges and trials put forth by COVID-19. As we step forward to a brighter, everchanging future, I encourage you to join me in
congratulating, extending well wishes, and unconditional support for Peak Jasper in their first publication as they feature local businesses and people that lead Jasper to the pinnacle of success and prosperity. The past two years grounded the world to a halt, proving itself a challenging feat not only for families, healthcare workers, and the workforce, but most especially the small businesses that have been driving this economy forward. It was a challenge to manage a small business and persevering through unprecedented, oftentimes unpredictable events affecting the influx of tourists, business hours of operation, and limitations on customer capacity.
In defiance, we all stood steadfast together to come out as one. I am thrilled to see Jasper’s booming recovery not only through the revitalization of small businesses and tourism featuring their municipality, and the beautiful Jasper National Park, and incredible wildlife, but also with the development and publication of their first-ever business magazine, Peak Jasper. Now, more than ever, it is important to come together as a community to support one another in their business endeavours and efforts to bring back the spirit and life in Jasper. This new magazine will prove to be an asset in aiding local businesses in the area to be featured to locals and tourists, as well as help these small businesses in making their mark known and solidifying their unique legacies. I recommend that both locals and tourists explore Jasper with this magazine in hand to guide their way through the multitudes of incredible businesses that Jasper has to offer. Once again, I extend my sincerest congratulations and best wishes to the Jasper Fitzhugh in the development and publication of their first-ever business magazine, Peak Jasper. I look forward to all the incredible stories and features to come. Gerald Soroka, MP, Yellowhead
22 PEAKJASPER 24 JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
WARRIOR WOMEN PROVIDING ECONOMIC SOVEREIGNTY AND RECONCILIATION With a stated focus of indigenizing and decolonizing spaces, Matricia Bauer’s business, Warrior Women, is focused on providing economic sovereignty and reconciliation. When Bauer moved to Jasper from Edson nine years ago, she had recently incorporated and trademarked Warrior Women across Turtle Island (Canada), and initially her business was primarily hired for community services such as working with school groups and Parks Canada. In time, the business broadened in scope and began to branch into the tourism industry with its involvement in the first Jasper Dark Sky Festival. From there, the business moved into the travel trade as Bauer began working with local hotels and travel companies providing informative and entertaining walks, talks and musical performances. “I realized that I could probably sustain myself financially that way, so I got myself export ready,” she said. Having established Warrior Women in the travel trade, Bauer noted how the pandemic made operating very difficult as travel and tourism virtually stopped overnight. Rather than feeling powerless to the pandemic, Bauer explained that her business successfully pivoted its focus back to community where she was able to work online with school groups with assistance from reliable partners. “Organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Indigenous Tourism Alberta were so helpful because they were able to help me disseminate the amount of information that I was getting.” These organizations also helped her apply for grants that allowed her business to stay viable through the pandemic. “My community really supported me, and although maybe the last couple of years haven’t necessarily been profitable, at least I was able to stay afloat,” she said.
As tourism is set to come roaring back in 2022, Bauer’s business will be working mostly with tour groups again, primarily offering two experiences—a fireside chat and forest walks. Bauer explained the idea of fireside chats was borne out of questions and discussions others often wanted to initiate with her. “I found that when I go out in public, people are always asking these hard questions that I wouldn’t necessarily be in the right space to answer, so I decided to create the fireside chat to give people that place where they could come and ask…about reconciliation, about missing and murdered women and girls, about residential schools (and the unmarked graves) and about my experience with the Sixties Scoop,” Bauer said. “But it’s not just about me. It’s a two-way conversation.” Over the summer, Bauer will be offering weekly walks in Jasper’s forests where she will provide visitors an Indigenous lens through which to understand their surroundings. “There’s so much medicine and food (in our forests),” she said. “People have been on Turtle Island for a very long time, and we haven’t always had access to grocery stores or pharmacies. We’ve had to use what we found in the forest to sustain ourselves.”
Matricia Bauer is the owner of Warrior Women. Supplied photo
On the Forest Walks, Bauer teaches people how to find and process different medicines and foods that they find, explaining the experience as a “walk, talk and take away.” “It’s important to me when (clients) come to my experience that they actually get their hands dirty, so to speak, because people are always shocked at how easy it is to make a lip balm (or) a sugar or salt scrub that’s good for you and organic,” she said. “It’s very simple and it’s very medicinal, but a lot of people have lost a lot of information on how to do these things because of convenience. We don’t have to go to the grocery store all the time. We can actually make and do things right from the environment.” Indigenous tourism has to be authentic and it has to be Indigenous, Bauer explained. “Obviously, there is nothing about us without us,” she added. “Indigenous experiences have to be led by Indigenous people. It gives (us) sovereignty. It gives us a form of economic reconciliation, because we have the ability to share our story through our home place, and that’s really important for any kind of experience but particularly for Indigenous people and (their) experiences.” Indigenous tourism is like a bridge where non-Indigenous peoples are able to practice their economic reconciliation by participating in these experiences, Bauer described, adding how by doing that, they were increasing their knowledge and their part of the story in reconciliation on Turtle Island. “I love that part of the story. Not only am I helping the community and giving people these experiences, but I’m also sharing my story and sustaining myself as well, and that’s pretty gratifying.” In addition to her work in the travel trade, Bauer has some exciting ventures lined up in 2022 “I’m going to be hosting a show on APTN called ‘Digging For Your Roots,’ and that’s going to be featuring a different plant every episode and cooking a meal (with it) and then doing a fireside chat about how that plant contributes to Indigenous culture.” However, Bauer won’t be on just one television show this year. She will also be featured on another APTN series about Indigenous entrepreneurs called “Bear’s Lair,” where she will pitch a product that she is currently developing. “It’s pretty exciting…Indigenous people are doing just amazing, amazing things out there.”
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
WHERE ART BRINGS PEOPLE AND IDEAS TOGETHER Founded in 2009, Habitat for the Arts opened a space in Jasper for artists and the community under the mantra of “engage, experiment and explore.” For the first few years, Habitat was located in the vacant provincial courthouse downtown on Patricia Street. In 2012, when the town was revamping the library and creating the cultural centre, Habitat was welcomed by the municipality to work with the architects on designing a space within the new building for artists. Embracing the invitation, a space was created that welcomes people of all ages and abilities to create, to express themselves, to just “be,” said Marianne Garrah, one of the two cultural animateurs with Habitat. David Baker, Habitat’s other animateur, works quietly in the background at the non-profit, ensuring Jasper stages are nicely lit and sounding great, while documenting community events with his own deft hands and artistic vision. The Jasper Library and Cultural Centre, which houses Habitat for the Arts, opened in 2016. Whether sculpting, painting, drawing, theatre, film, music, writing or any other form of art, Habitat is there to welcome and foster artistic expression and relationships. “If you can think it up, you can explore it (at Habitat for the Arts),” Garrah said. “Jasper residents deserve a place to create, a place to gather over a cup of tea and talk about books…a place for a student to find a piano to play, a place for a young storyteller to find a camera and to tell a story…a place where people can pick up a piece of mud and form it into something.” Garrah quoted visiting artist Tessa Nunn to state the value of the community space. “No matter how confused and difficult the world may seem, we can return to the studio and find a state of wonder.” For 2022, Garrah explained that the nonprofit secured a Canadian Heritage grant and has been spreading the funding over the months in a program it calls “Reanimate the Arts.” Up until September, artists of all disciplines are invited to book the space to showcase their process and audiences are encouraged to attend, join and be inspired by them. Habitat offers many services and programs to the public, including lunchtime art
sessions, film nights, after school children’s programs, explorations in theatre and art exhibitions to name a few. “We don’t have any full time employed teachers or instructors, so we seek those in the community with skills and passion to share when presenting workshops,” Garrah said. “We believe that Jasper’s greatest resource is its people and what they bring into being is truly community driven.” In its first six years at the Library and Cultural Centre, the non-profit has grown immensely, with its abilities and ambitions limited only by the space available. “It would be really nice if we could connect more dots around town and use the facilities and people we have here to their max,” Garrah said. “We have so much talent (in Jasper). The struggle is putting the pieces together.” Grateful for the space it currently occupies, Garrah said that if Jasper’s arts and cultural community is to continue to grow, securing additional space for arts and culture in town
We have so much talent (in Jasper). The struggle is putting the pieces together.
would create more space for those currently operating independently. With so many festivals, theatre and film presentations, musical acts and other events occurring in Jasper throughout the year, Habitat says more space for the arts would provide the community with a cohesiveness that would complement what the organizations in town are doing and relieve some of the action that is presently done from garages and kitchens. “Arts have always been considered an afterthought, a frill or luxury (of a community) but arts practices, thinking creatively, have so much more to offer society when seeking collaboration or strategies,” Garrah added. “The arts are more than a means of escape… When animated, they are a critical tool of engagement.” Habitat is in talks with other non-profits in the community, seeking their support for the collaboration of a shared space that Garrah is certain would provide the vision and resources necessary to perpetuate and strengthen a central hub for arts and culture in Jasper.
24 PEAKJASPER 26
JASON STOCKFISH | ADVERTISING@FITZHUGH.CA
CHAMBER MARKET PROVIDES LOCAL BUSINESSES A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE
he Alberta Chambers of Commerce has created a new platform called Chamber Market designed to serve as “your one-stop-shop for buying local.” Many businesses sell their wares online through their own websites, but getting noticed on a tight budget is a significant challenge for most small vendors competing in a global market. Looking to make buying Alberta goods easy and convenient for consumers, Chamber Market has “brought together all your favourite Alberta makers in one place.” “Get artisanal kitchenware from Camrose, hand-crafted jewelry from Lethbridge, and home décor from Drumheller. And get all of it at Alberta’s online marketplace,” the website boasts. Patti Pavlov, executive director at the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, said Chamber Market started up last summer, and the emphasis of the initiative is shopping locally. “It’s really showcasing our local businesses, everything from restaurants to retail shops, to arts and crafts homebased businesses too,” Pavlov said. “Chambers are going live as soon as they have enough merchants interested.” The challenge in Jasper so far has been making local businesses aware of the program. “I think there’s just so much going on here that a lot of businesses haven’t had the time to thoroughly understand what Chamber Market is about and how it can help them going forward with (pandemic) restrictions being lifted,” Pavlov said. “Our market is very different here (and) Chamber Market is really going to open up your world, to the world, when it comes to shopping.” One benefit of Chamber Market for Jasper businesses, whose customers are primarily tourists, is that travellers often
Chamber Market is an online platform looking to make buying Alberta goods easy and convenient for consumers. | Supplied photo
are limited on available space for gifts and souvenirs, and while they would like to purchase more items while on holidays, they can’t necessarily take these items home with them and choose not to make purchases they otherwise would have. “They don’t have space, or they think about it later and regret that they didn’t buy it (and) we’re seeing (Chamber Market) is an awesome spot for businesses to get themselves in the digital world and to amplify their ability to sell their product,” Pavlov said. The Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce has received numerous inquiries from travellers looking to track down products they found while in town but were unable to transport home. “What Chamber Market can do, if businesses sign up for it, is to help that shopper find your product and order it online,” Pavlov said. Chamber Market is focused on providing
support for home-based businesses to grow and expand, get their product on the market and make it easy for people to purchase their goods. “You don’t have to be a chamber member to sign up for the program—of course, we would love to have you, and we would welcome you into the fold,” Pavlov said. “We do a good chunk of the heavy lifting in helping businesses in getting their products listed and help them through the process.” Pavlov added that while Chamber Market is an excellent platform for providing exposure for local businesses on a global scale, it is also very beneficial for residents looking to shop locally before purchasing a similar item online from afar. “It allows Jasper people to shop local and know what is available in their community.” To take advantage of Chamber Market services, either as a business or consumer, visit alberta.chambermarket.ca