JESSE BELL

What makes Fernie special to you? 

Fernie is my hometown. I love the memories of the sugar donuts from the old bakery in the 90s, and the imaginary forest lands (empty lots) we used to play hide-and-go-seek in as kids in the Annex. I remember the turf wars between Isabella Dicken, Max Turyk and CLS elementary schools. I love that as a child I could bike anywhere and everywhere around town to see all my friends and that now, as an adult, I still do. I’m proud that I can work and play here, among so many people who are motivated and inspired. This year marks five years of my column with the Fernie Fix about adventures – I haven’t run out of adventures yet.


What makes you proud to be Canadian?

I love that Canadians are stereotypically apologetic, eager to help, and welcoming. These things aren’t the worst way to be recognized. Fernieites are much the same, though perhaps to the limit. It’s not uncommon to find one that will give you directions to their secret spot, or tell you about the best restaurants to eat at, or ask to you meet them for lunch to talk about shared interests. It’s very Canadian. We live in a country where so much of it remains untouched, and I feel we have a deep connection to that untouched territory and a desire to protect it. Fernie is representative of that.


What is your Fernie story?

My parents married here in 1984, and I was born at the Fernie hospital in 1987. I grew up here and though I was eager to leave at the age of 19, I came back after travel and university at 25. I wanted to call the mountains home again, to open my back door and find Fernie Mountain, Three Sisters and Hosmer Mountain staring back at me. Better yet, I wanted to be able to hike those mountains regularly, and to explore others I haven’t yet summited. My mom and dad are still here, and I’m so grateful for the proximity to them – we go for walks, dinner, regularly visit the theatre. The connection with them, as well as the connection to this supportive, artistic, active community, and the never-ending adventures, is the reason I stay.