FYNLEY KUIJT

What makes Fernie special to me?

For me, Fernie is a great many different things. It’s a place of activity, of skiing, biking, hiking and river floating. It’s a place full of memories from growing up; each street has some story attached to it, that I think of every time I pass by. Fernie means cold winters and hot summers with sunburns, walks along the dike and hikes in the mountains, taking the bus to school every morning and listening to the B104 radio station. I find that Fernie always has this aura of continuity. It seems like everything here will be the same forever, and that we might grow up and move away, but Fernie will continue on just like it always has.

Fernie is a safe place, a calming place, though sometimes with limited options. That’s the hard part. Growing up in Fernie, you are always aware that one day you will most likely leave. It might be to go to university, and you might come back one day, but you will probably leave.

Regardless, Fernie is a beautiful place I’m glad to have grown up in.


What makes me proud to be Canadian?

When I think of Canada as a whole, I think of road trips. Every summer my family would either go east to the lakes in Ontario, or west to Victoria. We would spend days on the road, watching the country go by, stopping at neat spots and listening to my dad tell us (sometimes made up) facts about our surroundings. Canada is a large country and it has always made me feel like there are so many possibilities out there, but it also made me feel a little panicked, since I know I’ll never be able to experience everything is has to offer. That would take multiple lifetimes. Canada is where people apologize for anything and everything, where nature is everywhere and you call out on hikes because of bears. We do not often realize how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful country.


 

What’s my Fernie story?

My parents originally came to Fernie to ski. My dad would take weekend ski trips from Lethbridge with his family, and my mom moved here from Ontario in the early 1990’s. They met in Fernie, skied in Fernie, worked in the tourism industry in Fernie and ended up getting married and staying in Fernie. I have lived in Fernie my whole life and was even born in the local hospital. The skiing brought my family to Fernie and in turn has been a big part of my life as well. I was on the ski hill at eight months old with strap on plastic skis. Both of my parents worked at the ski hill as ski instructors and patrol, and last year I also worked there as a ski instructor, following in their footsteps. Now my dad works as a ski guide and my mom at the local high school as a French Immersion teacher, which my sister and I attend. Fernie is a great place to live.