What makes Fernie special to you?
Fernie has so many things it is hard to define. I didn’t like Fernie much to start with. Coming skiing here was great but I didn’t know much about the town or the people. I came from a small town that my family had been in for generations. I was not used to being foreign and on the outside. Once I started to get to know people I started to really see what a diverse community it is. There are so many different people, different cultures and different ways of life, it is a city with a complex and fascinating history and yet still young too. I love the history that is here and I love the exoticness that keeps people “Discovering Fernie” which seems to make it new. But most of all I love the people. There are so many people who have become the family of my heart with deep connections that regardless of time we are forever bonded. There is the family that I married into, whom I cherish. I love that as a community we can put aside our differences and help each other whether it is building sandbags for the Flood of ’95 or neighbours helping neighbours in the Blizzard of 2017. We rally together for births, deaths and illness. I love the people of this city and am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the fabric of this amazing place and to raise my children here.
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
I am proud to be a Canadian when I think of the medley of its people, the vastness and magnificence of its landscapes, its history and its connectedness. I have lived in three of our provinces that could not be more different, in the history, the culture and the geography, yet we are connected. I first learned the first three of my loves for Canada while in high school I was accepted to attend Encounters Canada in Ottawa. I met so many amazing people from all over, I had flown for hours and not reached the other side of our country, how different the landscapes was from home, and how rich our heritage is. It was later when I learned how connected we all are, despite the mountains, prairies, lakes and forests that separate us, while sitting in a small room in New Brunswick I asked someone if they knew Gary from Simcoe, Ontario and their answer is YES, he is my friend too! It has happened more times than I can count and I am thrilled each time. I am proud to be Canadian and it brings me great joy to share the amazing wonders of this land, share the history of it and the people who make it so special and making connections across the country. I truly believe we live in the best country!
What is your Fernie story?
My Fernie story started in 1978. My Father loved skiing so we would pack up the motorhome for the weekends and camp up at the hill. It evolved into a condo in the Griz Inn then Dad coming up with the idea of starting a business in town. That idea eventually evolved into Smitty’s/Husky in 1992. I came after college, in 1994, to help my parents with the restaurant. In ’96 we opened the Super 8 Motel. I wasn’t committed to staying in Fernie until my father passed away and I wouldn’t leave my mother with so much work. So I stayed. I began to get know people in Fernie and one day I met a local fellow. I joke that I was never going to date a Fernie boy let alone marry one! He is a first generation Fernie-born, Italian boy. Three generations of his family have called Fernie home, it is a large family with deep Fernie roots. We sold my parents’ businesses and my mom and sister have moved back home; however, my husband and I have made Fernie our home. We are so happy to raise our children around family in a great community, and the beautiful setting we call home.
I was raised in Alberta but I have grown up in Fernie.