What makes Fernie special to you?
People define the community. Fernie is built around people’s perceptions and interactions with one another. People come to Fernie for the mountains, the recreational possibilities and build their own perceptions and ideas of what Fernie means to them. There was a time paths through the woods had no names and there were no trail maps; that is not the reality now.
I am proud of the arts in our community and people who champion the arts through painting, writing, music etc. Fernie is a good home base to create and then take your work out into the world.
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
Canadian’s resolve to stay true to values of fairness and acceptance and to not tolerate hate makes me proud. In these tough times it will be a great test to uphold these values when, even in our own country, hate is becoming a popular way to achieve power.
Unabashedly Canadian culture makes me proud. The Rheostatics art rock anthems from sea to sea, Peter Gzowski warmly grabbing you with his gruff grandpa voice and taking you on the best morning adventures, a Jack Layton speech, a Paul Quarrington book, Gord Downie dancing with his mic stand in the rain.
What is your Fernie story?
I was born in Fernie some 48 years ago in the old hospital which is now, fittingly a tavern. I went to work in the coal mines like my father and his father and his father to put myself through college and ended up staying in mining. Over the years I became a labour activist and for the last ten years I have been working as a Grievance/ Compensation Chairman for USW 9346 at the Elkview mine.
My day job fuels my music and art projects. Friends and community keep me here.