I arrived in Canmore on July 5, 1992, almost seven years ago. I was born in Adelaide, South Australia, on December 16, 1928, where I had spent my entire life, apart from spending one year in Auckland, New Zealand. My reason for making this huge decision to leave my home, large extended family, and life-long friends was not a hasty one. It was planned thoughtfully and carefully over a period of two years so I would be closer to my only son, Christo, and his wife, Barb, and my two grandsons, Logan and Luke. I would be able to offer support in the role of a grandparent; I was on my own and due to retire from a very demanding position in the advertising industry (State Manager for South Australia and the Northern Territory for Peter Jsaacson Publications, the largest independent publishers of trade pub lications in Australia); Christo was my only child. These considerations made the decision an obvious and relatively easy one. I arrived in Canmore on a Sunday evening and by the following Saturday, had moved into my own home. I was fortunate enough to have been able to purchase a condo twelve months before I arrived and my furniture and treasured possessions which had been shifted from Australia three months earlier were here waiting for me to be cleared through Customs.
Apart from my family, I didn’t know a soul in Canmore when I arrived. However, after attending church at St. Michael’s the first Sunday after I arrived, and being warmly welcomed, I was invited to join various groups in the parish. I next paid a visit to the Health Unit to meet Maureen Brass who asked me to help with Post-Partum classes for new mothers; then to the Canmore Hospital to meet Helen Krizan who invited me to join the Canmore Hospital Auxiliary and to help in the hospital gift shop. I began to feel a sense of purpose, and before long, developed a feeling of belonging.
I was fortunate I arrived during the summer and had the opportunity of gradually getting used to the idea of dressing in layers before the harsh winter set in. I was determined to learn to cross- country ski, in spite of the fact I had never even stood on skis! I must admit that it took me two seasons before I felt even slightly confident, thanks to the encouragement of my family and to joining the Nordic Centre’s Beginner Class and Bill Hamilton’s (our instructor) patience! I now ski regularly with the Elder Ski Group at the Nordic Centre, also socially with friends, and enjoy volunteering at the various ski races, World Masters Jeep, Eagle Juniors, Rocky Mountain Ski Marathon, and Sled Dog Races.
The second summer I was here, I was invited to join the Meanderthal’s hiking group, Bob Smith’s Monday evening group, Jimmy Lambert’s Tuesday morning group, and the Bow Valley Naturalists. As a result of hiking and walking with these wonderful groups of interesting people, my knowledge of the local flora and fauna has been greatly enhanced. I just love the mountains and I can’t imagine not being surrounded by them. As well as volunteering at the hospital, church, and ski events, I thoroughly enjoy volunteering as a Friend of the Library, the R.C.M.P. Barracks Museum, the Food Bank, helping young families who have twins, plus several other young families, helping in the Lawrence Grassi School Library, at local quilt shows and at the Heritage Park Annual Quilt Show, the Fall Festival, the Bow Valley Naturalists flower count, not to mention always “being there” for my family whenever I am needed.
Last winter, I joined a group of friends, who, thanks to Bob Reynold’s wonderful knowledge and leadership, have enjoyed many marvelous snowshoe outings on Mondays during December to March. This winter I decided, as I turned seventy in December, to learn to downhill ski, something I had wanted to attempt ever since living here and watching my family enjoying this sport. It was now or never and it has certainly been a great challenge, one that I have enjoyed thoroughly.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to have had a steady stream of Australian friends and relatives visit me. They have all fallen in love with Canmore and are in absolute awe of the mountains and can completely understand how happy I am to be living in such a beautiful place in the world and that, to me, Canmore is now very definitely home.