AIDAN BARNES

What makes Fernie special to you? 

I didn’t quite know what it meant to truly feel a part of a community until I moved here. There is something unique about how this place unites people from all different backgrounds; the mountains inspire the artists, contemplators, and avid adventurers alike. It’s special.

It’s the honking of horns from your friends as they drive by and the inevitable social gathering in the grocery store. It’s the serenity and quietness in the deep of the woods and the compassion of those who call Fernie home. This place is small, but I’ve been challenged and encouraged more here than I imagined possible. You can feel the beat, the gentle hum of people creating, challenging ideas, starting new ventures and soaking up everything the community has to offer. And it just keeps giving.

 What makes you proud to be Canadian?

I am proud to be Canadian. I did not choose my citizenship but I love it, and I’m so fortunate to be able to say that. I was born into this place; enabled from my very beginning to have the ability to choose my path. I can explore from far and wide, make my own choices and learn from my mistakes. Being Canadian inherently gives me that opportunity.

Although not unique to Canada, the beauty of four distinct seasons is captivating to me. Maybe we are more like the seasons than we know. Our ability to change, adapt and focus on new beginnings is strong. I feel united by the diversity and empowered by choice. I continue to be humbled by the Canadians I meet and the experiences that I get to have.

What is your Fernie story?

I moved in 2007 with Steph (a “friend” I hardly knew), an air mattress and my snowboard. I spent most of my days navigating the mountain, learning the terrain, working a few hours at Fernie Sports and unknowingly becoming part of this community. Steph and I are now two peas in a pod, I no longer have an air mattress and can proudly say I’m a skier.

I grudgingly took a two-year hiatus from Fernie to finish my degree. But, I was back here every chance I could be. I even managed to negotiate my way out of an exam (at the expense of writing more papers) so that I could spend a few extra days here.

The feeling I got when I first moved to Fernie never died when I was away, it pulled on me even stronger to come back. It was the feeling of being home; coming around the bend in the rock cuts and through the tunnel, to the view of the three sisters extending their welcoming arms. That feeling is what keeps me here and what led me to meeting my husband here. Fernie is home and my story is ever evolving and growing.

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