SYLVIA AYERS

What makes Fernie special to you? 

I think this exhibit itself is the best answer to that question. It is created by people who live here, working hard and sharing their energy and vision to make a celebration about people who live here, also working hard and sharing their vision. Community is only ever about people who pull together to make their own best lives happen without expecting others to do it for them. Fernie is a joyous example of that – just look at the museum, the arts community, the library, the trails, the clubs and support groups. All done for love.

I am honoured to live with so many dedicated residents who put in hundreds of quiet hours to make this such an incredible place to live.


What about Canada?  What makes you proud to be Canadian?

When I was younger I believed there was a unifying idea of Canada that made it easy to define a Canadian, but now I am not so sure. Fortunately, I believe we all still see ourselves in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and we still see ourselves as a mosaic, and I also feel optimistic that we also recognize how fragile this tremendous liberal democracy is.

We live in peace and prosperity; we can speak our minds and we can choose our own lives. Rather than ‘proud’, I just feel shockingly lucky to live here, and I desperately want to be part of keeping this place so tremendous.


What is your Fernie story?

I moved here in January 1998 almost sight unseen because I wanted to live wherever Nic Milligan was living. This was a very different kind of town, still full of tremendous people, but very quiet. The ski hill had recently changed hands so Fernie was going through the pains and confusion of change, protecting the culture from getting lost in the rush of the rest of the world moving in. But people from all over the world brought new ideas – ways to take what we have here and make it better. I am overjoyed to see a town that delights in the possibilities, instead of being afraid of them. Before I lived here I was in many places and other countries looking for anything exciting and innovative, and now the world is right here. This is the most exciting place I know. I will never move away.

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