Modern Luxuria Vol 34 March 2023

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VOL 34 MARCH 2023
780 428 6565 | WWW.MOUSTARAH.COM
- 3March 2023 Highlights Fashion Edgy Spring styles at Fellow by Floc 18 Note Spring brings new features to Modern Luxuria 6 Cuisine Old World charm with familiar favourites at Continental Treat 38 Community The Ben Stelter Fund spreads its wings as a legacy to a six year old 60 Auto Maserati’s Grecale - style, technology and performance 32 Profile Innovation, business and community focus for YEG – Myron Keehn 8 Drinks Unique and unexpected Spring cocktail ideas 44


Elsa Amorim


Jelena Bojic


Beryl Bacchus


Brandy Belitsky


Lucie Oosterveld


Gordana Bosiocic


Mona Butler

Twyla Campbell

Marcia J. Hamm

Steven Hope

Nev Ostoin

Francesca Roznicki

Tom Sedens

Modern Luxuria is a digital magazine and is published monthly.

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No part of this magazine, including text, photographs, illustrations, advertising layouts or other graphics may be reproduced in any way without the prior written consent of the publisher. Modern Luxuria Magazine is not responsible for loss, damage or any other injury to unsolicited manuscripts, unsolicited artwork (including but not limited to drawings, photographs, or transparencies) or any unsolicited material. By accepting and publishing advertisements, Modern Luxuria Magazine is in no way endorsing or guaranteeing the quality of service or product with those advertisements.

Thank you

VOL 34 MARCH 2023 COVER Photography Supplied

Beryl Bacchus Managing Editor

Beryl Bacchus has had an extensive career with over 20 years in the fashion, events and entertainment worlds. Spending time in Montreal, Toronto and New York, she moved to Edmonton just over a decade ago and is excited to bring her passion for community to Modern Luxuria Magazine and help showcase the talent and vibrancy of Edmonton from a fresh perspective.


Twyla Campbell is a freelance writer and food columnist for CBC Radio (Edmonton). She is a seasoned traveler who seeks unique destinations both local and abroad. A proud supporter of Canadian wine and sustainable food producers, Twyla is a regularly sought food panelist and judge for culinary competitions in Canada.

Francesca Roznicki is a creative entrepreneur and busy mom of two boys. Always passionate about interior design, she has worked exclusively within the interior design and home building industry in Edmonton. When she isn't busy shuffling kids to sports practice and writing for her clients, she's scouring the local real estate listings and diving into decor magazines with a piping hot Americano.

Mona Rose Butler, originally from Vancouver, brings with her to Edmonton a background in lifestyle writing within the luxury realm. When not working or training for her next strongman competition, she can be found exploring the restaurants and coffee shops of Edmonton or taking her dog, Pixel, on adventures.

Marcia J. Hamm is a lover of all things wine, but is especially passionate about Italy's native grape varieties. She is a WSET diploma holder, an Italian Wine Scholar and one of only 15 Italian Wine Experts In the world through the Vinitaly international Academy (VIA). Marcia also loves to sing, ride her bicycle, have dinner parties and relax on the patio.

Steven Hope is an award winning creative, working in commercials and film around the world. He is not good at writing about himself in the form of a bio and would prefer we let the work speak for itself. The work would say something like “Hi reader, I’m the work, I’m humbly brilliant.”

Tom Sedens is a husband, father of 3, lover of pie and a world traveler that has explored over 50 countries. He is an accredited member of AJAC (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) who loves driving anything, anytime, anywhere.

- 5March 2023

Welcome to our March edition!

Spring may not be in the air yet, but it’s in our calendars and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

From colourful fashion - one of our favourite things about Spring - to unique and refreshing drinks, there is so much to celebrate and be excited about in March. It’s also that time of the year when we ask our readers to nominate someone who fits in the ‘Most Fashionable’ category for 2023. Once the winners are chosen, they will be featured through a styled photoshoot. Sounds like fun, right? Make sure you nominate yourself or someone that fits the fashionista profile.

Editor's Note

Great news for those of you who love to travel as Edmonton International Airport’s new vision statement is: ‘More Flights to More Places'. With the new President and CEO, Myron Keehn leading its future, there are some exciting things on the horizon: from growing numbers of destinations, to expanding the innovation sector in the field of AI, drones and solar farms, to continuing to be committed to the community by supporting around 100 charities each year.

If you consider yourself a true foodie, chances are you’ve been to Continental Treat. Having been a part of the local dining scene since 1982 on Whyte Ave, a second location came to the Goodridge Block downtown in 2021. Their signature feel carries on in that space as well, with the Old World ambience, iconic European dishes, and a familiar, cozy vibe. The dill pickle soup remains a must-try.

This month also brings us a new Community feature, and we are honoured and privileged to talk about the Ben Stelter Fund as the first, inaugural story. Benny’s smile and big heart will continue to live through this incredible legacy that his family and friends are building, and we are thrilled to see Edmonton embracing this new philanthropic mission to help children battling cancer.

Enjoy the March edition of Modern Luxuria, and we hope you’ll find some great luxuries throughout this new edition.


YEG Leading the Future of Airports

Edmonton International Airport is about to take off on an exciting new destination as Myron Keehn becomes President and CEO of Edmonton Airports

- 9March 2023

WITH30 years of experience working in the private and public sectors in North and South America, Asia, and Europe, Myron has spent the majority of his career working in airports around the world including the Dominican Republic, Chile and Vancouver. Fifteen years ago he joined Edmonton Airports in the areas of land development and property management. Prior to his new role, he was VP of Air Service and Business Development at Edmonton Airports for five years. “I built my career focusing on how to drive economic potential of private and government-owned assets to maximize returns for countries by driving national investment and commercial plans,” Myron explains.

Being born and raised in Edmonton is special to Myron. “I am blessed to have a loving family that raised me here in our beautiful province. I spent many summers on the farm and spent lots of time in the mountains. When you grow up here, you are tied to the land and appreciate everything our vast province has to offer.” His love for Alberta is reflected in his respect for all people and the international locations he has worked. "One thing that stands out most to me is the human element that ties everyone together no matter where you come from. I had great mentors throughout my career, and they exposed me to different perspectives."

Myron’s leadership style is all about the people, which to him is the most exciting part of leading an airport. "Ethical business and integrity starts at the top. Our leadership team and I must continue to set an example for our organization through our actions every day. People are our

most important resource. Working in an open and cooperative environment encourages teamwork, communication, and mutual respect. I also believe corporate responsibility and ethics go hand-in-hand. They include key aspects of our company culture such as ethics and transparency, diversity, inclusion and equity, environmental sustainability, governance, and volunteerism and philanthropy.”

Every decision Myron makes is driven by Edmonton Airport’s core values, working to ensure that the safety and security of customers, employees, facilities, and the environment is a primary concern in all aspects of doing business. Dedicated to sustainability, Myron speaks of the commitment to responsibly managing all assets to advance our region’s environmental stewardship, social well-being, and economic prosperity. “The aviation industry owes it to the future generations to ensure we’re doing everything we can to minimize the impacts on the planet. After safety and security, our job is to create jobs in a fiscally, environmentally, and socially responsible way. We are always looking at how we operate our business that will really drive innovation and change.”

Besides his notable strength as a leader, one is also struck by Myron’s commitment to respect. This is demonstrated in not only his people philosophy, but his community involvement. “True character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. Through my career, I’ve met many successful, affluent people around the world. The memory that sticks with me is seeing these successful people treat all people with equal respect and dignity, no matter what."


The YEG Community Investment Program supports around 100 charities each year, giving tens of thousands of dollars in donations to support many important causes, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments in small business and in-kind support to community events. Myron’s commitment to impact on the community continues to be central in decision making.

When asked what is next for YEG? “Our vision is simple: More Flights to More Places. Almost everyone in the region uses our airport or benefits from it in some way. Whether it’s receiving an online shopping order, visiting family or friends, going on vacation, or conducting business, YEG is the gateway to the Edmonton Metro Region and beyond. Providing efficient, affordable travel is an important part of the recovery of the aviation and travel industries, and YEG is focusing on attracting affordable airlines as they play a huge role in supporting industry growth and success. Ultra-low-cost carriers open a new audience and

demographic for YEG and provide increased service to new and existing destinations. Affordable travel helps so that travelers can have more to spend on hotels and at their destination.”

As for the future? “We are focused on continuing to innovate and grow our Airport City Sustainability Campus, providing opportunities for businesses to push the boundaries in fields like AI, drones, reforestation, and energy sources such as solar and hydrogen. YEG has achieved the most on-airport development of any airport in North America and the Airport City Sustainability Campus is one of only two aerotropolises in Canada. Airport City is a magnet for investment, attracting more than $1.5 billion in private investment over the past nine years, and is an expanding center for transportation, cargo logistics, manufacturing, sustainability, technology development, retail, hospitality, and tourism. The campus is also an integrated ecosystem spurring collaboration and innovation while fostering the commercialization of emerging clean technologies.”

- 11 -

Speaking of innovation, in 2023, YEG is breaking ground on the world’s first airport solar farm. The solar farm is being developed in partnership with Alpin Sun on 624 acres of YEG’s southwestern lands. It will provide enough electricity for approximately 28,000 homes and offset about 106,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

“We are using our Airport City Sustainability Campus to be home to Canada’s first consumer-facing hydrogen

hub. As the world is racing to using hydrogen as renewable energy, it is one of the future tools in our toolbox. Alberta is a massive market for renewables already and sustainable fuels like aviation fuel and biofuels are poised to come to the market for vehicles, electrification, and eventually, hydrogen powered airplanes.” Myron also warns it is importan t for airports to be prepared for the significant demand for hydrogen as we progress in the world of renewable resources.


“Creating demand for hydrogen will lead to supply, create jobs, and bring new investments into the region. The goal is for airports to show the world that using hydrogen as a fuel is possible. At YEG, we are also fortunate to have the space for building the infrastructure needed to create a hydrogen fuel hub and are committed to unlocking Edmonton’s hydrogen potential and supporting efforts to build a hydrogen economy for our region. As a community leader and major facility, we are bringing together companies locally and globally to form partnerships, test new technologies, and showcase the power of emissions-free hydrogen fuels.”

The airport is also expanding. “Construction will begin on the largest cargo expansion in our airport’s history,” Myron confirms. “In 2022, the federal government announced $100 million in funding to increase our cargo and logistics handling operation into the new International Cargo Hub. We will convert approximately 2,000 acres of land to a global cargo hub, expanding our multi-modal distribution throughout Canada, the United States of America and Mexico. The development includes new runway connections and taxiways to integrate new cargo handling aprons with direct airside handling operations, and expansive facilities for handling, warehousing, automated e-commerce logistics, and distribution.”

- 13March 2023

In late 2022, YEG’s Airport City Sustainability Campus received two International awards, both in recognition of inspirational leadership in environmental initiatives at YEG’s Airport City Sustainability Campus and the impacts in transforming air cargo and ground handling operations.

Last year, YEG was the first airport in North America to be accredited in the Airports Council International – ACI World Public Health & Safety Readiness Accredited program. This program proactively guides in protecting the safety and security of everyone who works in, or travels through our airport.

They also achieved certification under ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme, one of 151 airports worldwide certified for mapping and studying our carbon footprint, determining emissions’ sources within operational boundary and calculating the annual carbon emissions.

Starting in May 2023, Condor will be flying non-stop to Frankfurt. “Connecting with international hubs is an important step in restimulating the economy, and this new flight will help to propel and diversify both business and leisure travel and provide direct cargo access for Canadians and Europeans. The number of non-stop destinations is higher than it was pre-pandemic. In 2019, we had approximately 52 non-stops, and today we have approximately 56. We fly direct to nine different countries on three different continents on 14 different airlines.”

There is no doubt under Myron’s vision, YEG will be an International Force.

- 15March 2023
Kway Rain Coat Sanctuary tee & slip skirt

Key Looks for Spring in Edmonton

Spring sees the new generation of dressing up, down and sporty. Fashion staple Floc Boutique introduced Fellow by Floc this month in the luxurious West Block Glenora. They showcase their edgy styles for the month of March.


- 19March 2023


George Blazer in Daybreak


Alas Pant in Daybreak


Trostol Button

Down in Duck Green


Hill Low Calf


- 21March 2023
Ted Baker Top Mos Mosh trousers

Armed Angels

Aadoni Stripes

Organic Cotton



Le Vrai 3.0

Claude Packable

Waterproof Rain

Jacket in Taupe


Cargo Combat


Good Man Brand

Legend London Lo

Top Sneaker In Dark


- 23March 2023

Rino & Pelle

Boyfriend Blazer

DH New York

Vest & Slip Dress


Raffia Sandals

- 25March 2023
Kway Rain Coat Sanctuary tee & slip skirt


Merino Polo Knit


Liam Trouser

Good Man Brand

Legend London Lo

Top Sneaker In Dark Vachetta

- 27March 2023

The Flair of an Accessory

Spring 2023 is almost here and the Modern Luxuria Team has selected the trends to help you usher in the new season


- 29March 2023
Delta Dolcevita Ballpoint Pen Tom Ford Leather Brighton Sandal Fraiche Inspire Sweetheart Stretch Bracelet

Nimihito Mispayaw Dancing Womb

Navigator Sunglasses

- 31March 2023 Currier Card Case Minimalist Wallet Eau de Parfum Sampling Program Wave Bucket Hat

Sculpted Power: Maserati's All-New Grecale

Iconic, Audacious, Futuristic Performance Luxury

Maserati’s tradition of naming their creations after winds began in 1963 with the Mistral. The Ghibli, Bora, and many others followed. The latest is the Grecale. Named after a strong, cool Mediterranean wind, it brings a new wave of technology, performance and design to the stable.

Performance, style and craftsmanship are Maserati’s hallmarks. The former is delivered thanks to three engine choices: a 300 or 330 HP inline-4 or a fire-breathing 530 HP V6. Acceleration is ferocious and unrelenting, with the top two engines effortlessly hitting 100 km/h in 5 seconds or less, and the quad exhaust pipes bellowing out a symphony of signature Maserati sound.

The transmission shifts seamlessly when commuting, but can also snap off lightning-fast shifts when called upon, and can be manually controlled using the gorgeous aluminum paddle shifters.

The driver can choose between multiple drive modes, each impacting the vehicle’s responsiveness, transmission programming, suspension performance and even exhaust sound. In Comfort mode, the air suspension offers up a truly pillowy ride. Sport mode firms things up and brings the Grecale’s thrilling handling capabilities into focus.

The Grecale’s style is cosmopolitan and modern. Sculpted lines fuse Maserati’s iconic design elements, such as the triple side air vents and signature grille framing the new Maserati Trident, with an audacious and pure look. Flowing curves, athletic stance and aggressive muscularity are all balanced in a sleek and fluid package.

Inside, the Grecale embraces a new paradigm of luxury, combining equal elements of tradition and innovation. The styling evokes a sense of emotion and every detail has a purpose. Every surface is beautifully upholstered in stitched leather or trimmed with wood or a lustrous Copper Yarn carbon fiber. The old-world craftsmanship is evident wherever the eyes look and the hands touch.

- 35March 2023
“ Flowing curves, athletic stance and aggressive muscularity are all balanced in a sleek and fluid package.

Front and center on the dash is the famous Maserati clock - an iconic design feature for ages. In the Grecale, this nod to the marque’s history and traditions becomes a digital interface, projecting the feature into the future. It can be customized by themes and with the information it displays.

The heated and ventilated seats envelop the driver and passengers in comfort and incredible support. Crafted out of the finest leathers, they are hand-stitched and embossed with the Maserati logo on the headrest.

Ahead of the driver is a digital gauge cluster, easily configured to multiple layouts and displaying any information desired. The center console design is notably clean - free of buttons and a gear lever, allowing for spacious storage and a clutter-free feel.

The center stack houses two big touchscreens that handle almost any function between climate control, phone and vehicle functions and the

stunning 21 speaker Sonus Faber premium sound system.

The Grecale is spacious, offering best-in-class cabin volume. Even the rear passengers are treated to a luxurious world of their own, with cosseting surroundings, heated seats and their own rear touchscreen for a separate climate control zone.

Maserati’s artisan and sporting traditions are evident in the Grecale, but have been reinterpreted with a truly modern touch. The styling, technology and performance all work tog ether to convey a sense of harmony - this Mediterranean wind is truly something special.

- 37March 2023


Treat Fine Bistro: A familiar place that feels like home

Can the secret to success be this simple?

Continental Treat celebrates its 41st birthday this year leaving inquiring minds—many of which belong to other restaurant owners—asking one question: what’s their secret?

- 39March 2023

Chances are it’s not one thing but a combination of great food and service, a nice ambience and an attractive location that has allowed this family-owned business to survive changing trends, economic downturns and, as it turns out, pandemic related dining restrictions. That a second location opened during those restrictions, and has not only survived but thrived, hints that there’s maybe some magic dust floating around in the mix, too.

If you’ve been to the bistro, you will most likely have had pierogis or schnitzel or perhaps dug into a plate of pork hocks with sauerkraut. Chances are, you will have had Helena’s creamy dill pickle soup, a dish named after Helena Borówka who opened the original restaurant on Whyte Avenue with her husband, Ryszard, in 1982.

Their son, Sylvester, worked in the restaurant as a young man and after finishing college and gaining experience at other properties, including the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, came back to manage the restaurant in 2007. Aside from making all of the dishes gluten free, he’s changed very little of the original menu. There would be a riot, he says, if he removed any of the fan favourites that have been enjoyed by loyal customers over the years.

Iconic western, central, and eastern European dishes remain the focus of this beloved Edmonton institution: dishes like escargot and beef tartare, spaetzle and schnitzel, goulash, and stroganoff.

Several of these dishes reflect the heritage of Ryszard, who is Polish, and Helena, who is Ukrainian. Heritage and tradition are a big part of why this family has connected with Albertans over the decades. In the late 1800s, a swell of immigrants from Germany, Poland, and Ukraine made their way to Alberta, followed by Hungarians, Czechs, and Slovaks, many of them farmers who settled in rural areas around Edmonton. Another wave of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada started after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. Thanks to the Borówka family, some of them have found jobs at Continental Treat.

“Our family came to Canada 45 years ago,” Sylvester explains. “We were once in need and searching for a new home and needed help. We were fortunate and grateful that we received that help upon coming to Canada and we wanted to return the favor to our brothers and sisters in need who are going through a similar transition.”

In 2021, Continental Treat opened its second location in the Goodridge Block where the former Hardware Grill once stood. Other than fresh paint and some new flooring, the room didn’t need much. The 1912 Edwardian style building appealed to Sylvester because of its history, architecture, and old word ambience. That, plus having a kitchen 10 times the size of the Whyte Avenue location, meant they could increase their food production and baking operations.

- 41March 2023

Maybe the magic dust lies in that old world ambience. When so much of what we know is rapidly changing, life throws us curveballs like a global pandemic, and the sleekness of modernity replaces the soul of history; something familiar, cozy, and hearty is exactly what we need to feel safe and connected.

With Sylvester’s son, daughter and nephew involved in the business now, Helen and Ryszard’s legacy is as solid as the buildings that house their bistros; places where customers return time and time again because the combination of familiarity and food is comforting. It’s that simple.

In the words of Sylvester Borówka, “If something is good and loved, why change it?”


- 43March 2023

The Weird and Wonderful World of Drink

The possibilities of unique and unexpected spirits and drinks are all around us.

Anything can be fermented or distilled these days, so be open-minded to try something new.


If you’ve travelled around the world, perhaps drinking something unusual or rare is part of your itinerary and a definite must. Perhaps you’ve already heard about the famous Dawson City Sour Toe Cocktail (yes, it is served with a real severed toe!) or the Meat Breast Mezcal of Mexico, or perhaps even the Mamajauna of Dominican Republic, made with a mixture of tree bark, spices and red wine. While those might indeed have a level of “grossness”, read on for some other unusual or unique drinks that just might be a bit more palatable – to both the stomach and the eyes. If you’re a bit squeamish though, don’t read to the end of this article as the grossness just might return…

Kombucha has certainly come into its own for popularity and can also be considered for its health benefits. This mildly fizzy, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as ‘scoby’ (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts), converts the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid, which is responsible for kombucha’s distinctive sour taste. It is a potential source of probiotics, antioxidants and certain vitamins and minerals. Several flavours are available here in-market, of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety. It can even be made at home.

While dining at Lingnan in February, I was offered a sip of Baijiu, a Chinese spirit commonly distilled with sorghum, but can also be made from rice, wheat, corn and millet. Served by itself, it has a sweet anise floral aroma but a 58% ABV bite! Chef Miles Quan designed a specialty cocktail made with Baijiu, aptly naming it the lǎo zì hào which means “shop, firm or brand with a long-established reputation.” He felt the name was fitting as the Lignan has been in business for over 75 years. Miles shares his recipe as a way to enjoy Baijiu, where one might not otherwise.

- 47March 2023

Lingnan lǎo zì hào

2 oz of Baijiu

Cocktail spoon of mandarin syrup 5ml

3 dashes grapefruit bitters

Cocktail spoon of maltose syrup 5ml

1 piece preserved, salted tangerine peel

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass, stir to combine Baijiu and syrups; while allowing time for the peel to incorporate its flavour. Add ice and stir. Serve in a highball glass.

In creating this cocktail, Miles said, “Baijiu is strong but has a sweetness to it, so I chose mandarin syrup to bring that out with a bit of citrus brightness. The maltose is a mellow sweetness that reflects well on the nuttiness of the Baijiu.”

In ancient times, herbs, flowers and other natural ingredients were used to heal diseases. There wasn’t a lot of money and modern medicine wasn’t yet invented, so locals had to improvise. China and Korea are quite well known for some strange drinks used for medicinal purposes. Baby Mice Wine anyone? Baby mice were drowned in rice wine, and then fermented for 1-2 years to gain the strongest rodent flavour possible, which gives it greater healing power, specifically for liver disease and asthma. If you have a hankering to try Baby Mice Wine, or even Snake Wine, while you might not be able to order it at your favourite local bar, you might just get lucky to find it here in Edmonton’s Chinatown!

- 49March 2023

Book Your Effortless Getaway

Onyx Vacations specializes in making sure you don’t need a vacation from your vacation, so you can run from winter - or toward it - without a care

- 50 -

Planning a vacation can be exhilarating at the beginning, but can quickly start to feel like a lot of work once you’ve begun delving into the details. To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to identify the most worthwhile experiences. How do you go off the beaten path for authentic experiences when you do not even know what the “regular” path looks like?

“Due to being a member of a global luxury travel network, I have access to the ’best of the best’ worldwide, whether it’s accommodations, experiences, transportation or anything else a traveler's heart may desire,” explained the owner of Onyx Travel, Ashley Bruinsma.

Onyx Travel offers a truly bespoke experience. Every detail you can imagine is cared for, from flights and hotels, excursions, airport pick-up, and even gift purchases. Whether you’re looking to run away from winter or run toward it, she has destinations in mind to match your mood.

If you’re hoping to get far away from our chilling minus temperatures, Gibraltar and The Canary Islands in Spain and Crete, and Rhodes in Greece sit in the mid-teens over the winter, which is positively balmy compared to a Canadian winter. Since it is the off-season, they tend to be less crowded than in the summer months, however, the businesses which typically cater to tourists may be closed.

“The only downside is there are usually closures of any ‘summer locations' of food & drink establishments,” Ashley cautions.

- 51March 2023

No vacation would be complete without souvenirs, and this might be the ultimate one. Those visiting Spain may want to consider adding the Balearic Islands to their itinerary. In the idyllic village of Deià, a visit to a local painter's home can be organized during which he will create a portrait, either live or from a photo. The piece takes 48 hours to complete, which gives you plenty of time to explore the surrounding area.

If you are looking at winter with a view, consider booking the Basque Highlands, only 30 minutes from San Sebastian, or the French Alps. These both give incredible options for activities and accommodations. Thanks to the Basque Highland’s proximity to San Sebastian, you can enjoy the best of both worlds; the rustic charm of the countryside and the dramatic architecture of the city.

If the mountains are calling, Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps should be where you answer. This mountain range spans France and Italy, while also straddling Switzerland. The towns of Chamonix, Megève, and the surrounding area offer gorgeous accommodations to suit any taste, whether you prefer a luxurious hotel or a charming chalet. After a long day on the slopes, you are guaranteed to après ski in style and comfort.

- 53March 2023

Chasing a Passion That Has No Seasons

The Crete Collective team combines concrete, creativity, and collaboration to produce trendy household products.

- 55March 2023

Long before Crete Collective became known for their rainbow array of modern concrete sinks, the friends who make up the company, Sam Wilkins and Dallyn Volkman, were nearly 15 year veteran construction concrete workers, trying to balance seasonal work with less than inspiring day-to-day tasks. “That creativity outlet just was not being filled. I was driving around the city all the time and I had to re-center and think about what I wanted to do,” Sam says. Friends for years, Dallyn and Sam were both at a crossroads in their careers in 2019, when they began to talk about starting their own business that would allow them to work indoors, use their creativity, and find more balance in their lives. Sam and Dallyn worked for over a year to learn more about concrete mixes and develop the formula that would eventually be their golden ticket.

During the pandemic in 2020, Crete Collective officially opened its doors and started fabricating concrete countertops for clients as their initial offering. The team quickly recognized they wanted to do something that would require more design flexing


. “As we started to look at the concrete as a medium itself for building and creating interior products, we realized that the sky's the limit,” Sam says, as he motions to the multiple concrete furniture pieces in their showroom.

From tables to shower stalls, fireplace panels to sideboards, the pieces catch your eye as something new, notable and unique, with both a raw and refined surface that’s cool to the touch. However, nothing stands out more in the showroom than the vertical display of colourful concrete-cast sinks that adorn the wall. With over 30 shades of both neutral and bold colours to choose from, Crete Collective is changing the game of sinks in Edmonton.

Using inspiration from custom orders and their own unique design process, Sam and Dallyn have created a business focused on their range of distinctive concrete sinks that are not only stunning to look at, but are also sustainable, well made, and easy to maintain.

- 57March 2023

After the initial design and colour is decided upon, the team mixes their special formula of high quality concrete mix and pours it into reusable rubber moulds to cast the sinks. The whole process to produce a sink takes somewhere between 4-5 days from start to finish. Everything, from design to manufacturing to packaging, is done hyper-locally right in their Edmonton shop and showroom.

“One of the goals for us (when we started Crete Collective)... was to be involved more with the community of Edmonton, and Canadians in general; so the idea with Crete Collective was that we wanted to be collaborative with other people on our products.” Crete Collective encourages the community to design with them. They want clients to come to them and ask “Is this even possible?” The owners of Crete Collective can then flex their creative skills and concrete expertise to problem solve, design, and enthusiastically say, “Yes! Let’s do this!”

Crete Collective will be at the Edmonton Home + Garden Show from March 23-26, 2023. The Crete Collective showroom is open by appointment at 9807 47 Ave and their sinks can also be viewed at Iron River Surfaces at 10932 119 St. WWW.CRETECOLLECTIVE.COM

- 59March 2023

The Ben Stelter Fund

Remembering Benny and building a legacy in his name

- 61March 2023

Occasionally, we all have a moment when we think about one important question: “How will I be remembered?” It’s a question that could be a guide for one’s life; it can truly determine your actions, choices, your values, and everything you stand for.

For Lea and Mike Stelter, that question can be answered without thinking twice. Their purpose is called the Ben Stelter Fund, named after their son Ben. Benny, as they like to call him, passed away last year after battling glioblastoma, a form of aggressive brain cancer. He fought like a real hero, never losing his smile, his enthusiasm, and his love for the Edmonton Oilers.

How can someone at such a young age be so kind, so focused on making others feel special, and want to bring joy to everyone he meets? His mother Lea explains that this was just the personality of this wonderful boy. From extensive chemo treatments to surgeries and other difficult moments he had to face, Benny kept his positive attitude and wanted to bring joy and happiness to everyone around. One of the things that gave him joy was his favourite hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers.

When the Oilers first heard about Ben, they brought him in for a special experience and to meet the team, and slowly, they became family. It all started at his fifth birthday party; there was a car parade, and one of the cars was driven by Ashif Mawji, with decals of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Mike Smith’s faces. Ben took photos by the car, and he and Ashif instantly became friends. After Ben’s second surgery, Ashif reached out to the Stelter family and asked if Ben would like to meet Connor McDavid. Of course, Ben was delighted at the mention of this, and shortly afterwards, there was a get-together organized at Ashif’s home. Ben was not shy; he screamed “Connor” and jumped on him, and that’s when this remarkable friendship was born.

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All these magical experiences made him a happy boy. In the middle of a harsh battle, he had so much to look forward to, and it helped the whole family. The relationship with the Oilers truly made his time; he was on the ice with his favourite hockey players who embraced and accepted Ben as one of their own. Edmontonians were watching this and cheering for their team even harder, seeing the tremendous efforts by both Ben and the Oilers. Seeing Ben’s smiling face in the crowd became a trademark of the Oilers last season, and people recognized him as one of the team members.

After Ben passed, the family wanted to create a fund that will help kids going through the same problems: glioblastoma and brain tumors. It started as a simple idea to give gift cards, a small toy or a short trip to Canmore; then Ben’s father Mike, and Ashif Mawji started planning a real legacy for Ben. Ashif wanted to use his connections with the community to grow the fund, and focus on things that have a significant impact. And that’s how the four pillars of the Ben Stelter Fund were developed: medical equipment, magical experiences, outcome based research and venture philanthropy.

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How does it feel to build a legacy for their son, for her whole family, and offer hope and magical moments to others? “Even the first 50/50 raffle raised $5.7 million – the biggest this year, and it’s going into the Ben Stelter Fund. Already, he is making a difference in our community, and at the same time, the community is stepping up to show how much Edmonton loves to support an important cause,” Lea says, offering gratitude and admiration to the community who showed so much support for them through this new initiative.

The same weekend as the 50/50 raffle, the first Ben Stelter Memorial Tournament happened, and the teams and auctions made well over $35K. Now there are school fundraisers, and many more events and activities planned to continue this incredible movement.

“I don’t want any other family to know what it’s like to lose a child,” says Lea. Her energy and inspiration is coming from Benny. “He had the biggest heart and wanted everyone to feel good.”

This is just the beginning of a gift that Ben will continue to bring to our city, and we can’t wait to see how this fund grows and impacts families and children in our community.

To join the movement and offer your support, please visit:


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