What makes Fernie special to you?
There’s a positive energy that percolates from the residents of Fernie that I think comes from the sense of gratitude and appreciation we have for living here. We love where we live, and we share a subtle, collective stewardship of Fernie’s character. This sense of pride fosters a high level of community involvement, which makes Fernie a vibrant and happening place!
People of diverse backgrounds and experiences find common ground here, on the trails, or at community events. We are a welcoming community. Fernie is unpretentious and authentic, everyone knows everyone so there is no hiding here. Integrity is essential.
The iconic historic buildings of 2nd Avenue are constant reminders of Fernie’s storied past and the early citizens who’s hardships, resilience, and commitment helped shape the character of the town. I believe their energy lingers on and inspires similar traits in those who are here today. Fernie’s citizens have always been willing to take risks to make things happen, and capable, resourceful individuals, who can get ‘er done!
Most importantly to me, is the connection to the landscape we live in. This unites us, keeps us grounded, full of vitality, and mostly, it keeps us humble.
I’ve watched Fernie through many changes over the course of my lifetime. I owe much to this community and landscape that has shaped me, sustained me, challenged me and gifted me with adventure and healed me with its restorative secrets. Its a wonderful feeling of gratitude and being part of something much bigger than myself, part of something magic. Thank you, Fernie!
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
We enjoy many individual rights and freedoms in Canada that should not be taken for granted in these uncertain times. Our civil society is not without problems, but cool heads, pragmatism and a healthy dose of optimism always manage to prevail here. The beauty, expanse and diversity of our landscapes affect us in more positive ways than we understand, building our character and keeping us humble. People of Canada are as diverse as its landscape, creating a colourful, delicious, fusion of food and cultures ( there are many ways to make poutine) Canada and its people strive to uphold a high standard of humanity, friendliness and self-deprecating humour. Oh, yes, I am proud to be Canadian!
What is your Fernie story?
I was born here. I loved Fernie as a kid, but couldn’t wait to get out of town as a teenager. It felt so small and limiting back then with few amenities and opportunities and the ski hill was just starting to take off in the late 70’s.
I left for several years for university and travel and returned in 1988 to raise a family and enjoy an active mountain lifestyle. Our boys, Ryland and Luke, loved growing up here, passionate about the outdoors, skiing and mountain biking. They’ve always been very proud of Fernie, aware of the fact that people from all over the world travel here to enjoy what they were able to enjoy every day of their lives.
I feel deeply rooted here. My ancestors emigrated from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Hungary to settle here in the late 1800s. They were miners, blacksmiths, bakers and beer brewers, starting out in Coal Creek and eventually building homes in Fernie which they had to rebuild after the 1908 fire. Their experiences in some way have helped set my course, leading me home to Fernie.
I stay for the lifestyle and the people for sure. People of Fernie are lively, creative and supportive. They are passionate about their lifestyle and committed to find a healthy balance of work and play. I feel most at home and alive here, a powerful sense of place where the scenery and the people continue to inspire me everyday.