MARY MENDUK

What makes Fernie special to you?

Everything that matters is here, fresh water, air, water, mountains, trees, gardens, and vibrant people, all with a deep connection to each other.  In Fernie, you can be who you are with opportunities to become who you might be.  Whatever was not granted by nature is expanded by caring people connected to community needs and interests.  There is a history of citizen initiatives in this community, ordinary people volunteered to build safe swimming holes along the river and flooded fields for skating rinks.  the first ski hills and golf course were constructed and organized by local businessmen and miners.  This pattern of citizen initiative continues today with the d3esign of hiking biking trails, and renovation o heritage buildings for arts, library and museum.

In Fernie, there is always time.  Chatting and connecting in the grocery store, in front of the post office or on street corners, is a common practice.


What makes you proud to be Canadian?

My parents welcomed the opportunity to emigrate to a democratic country.  with heartfelt gratitude, I compare my life of freedom in Canada with the restrictions of my relatives in Czechoslovakia.  Canada is inclusive with respect for diversity.  The health care and public education system support a healthy lifestyle.


What’s your Fernie story?

I was born in a house in the Annex and lived there through my teenage years.  At that time, 9th Avenue was the last row of houses before the fields and wooded area that led to the river.  We grew a year’s supply of vegetables and like many immigrant families, we had a cow and chickens.

In my adult years, I lived in Victoria and Lethbridge and with my husband returned to Fernie to open the local bakery.  We did not want to stay.  I was not always loyal to Fernie.  As we explored our move in the 70’s, we realized everything we want is here.  I am happy I stayed.  I have a life here, music entertainment at the Arts Station, churches and restaurants, with everything from opera to jazz, regular art openings, a writers’ group and presentations from notable authors at the library.  For solitude, within five minutes, i could be reading a book in the eco-garden at dusk.

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