Vacation from Evacuation
In some ways, I have worked harder during this evacuation than when things are normal. The combination of getting the www.unitedforfortmcmurray.ca campaign started and painting portraits to support the cause absorbed much of time. Staying on top of social media, writing stories, and fielding media requests started early in the morning and stretched into the evening. I'm grateful I had something to do, things to keep my mind active. I might not have been able to handle things quite as well as I did otherwise. But, the time had come to check out for a couple of days, slow things down, and spend time with my family.
Some friends, formerly of Fort McMurray, offered up their home in Canmore, so we decided to take them up on it for a few days before heading back for the re-entry on June 1st.
My relationship with Canmore is limited; I was here about 20 years ago for the Canmore Folk Festival. I remember very little about event, except hearing a group called Feeding Like Butterflies. They blew me away. Outside of that, I have only driven through the community in the years that followed.
I believe that communities create an energy, a vibration that is completely unique. The vibration of this place completely surprised me, though I'm not sure why. We went strolling downtown yesterday, and in every shop that we spent time in, the people were engaging, friendly and authentic. There are also a number of inspiring art galleries with an eclectic variety of work.
In the span of an hour, we ran into a number of people that we knew. Lori Read, a singer/songwriter originally from Fort McMurray (a Dr. Clark/Beaconhill/Composite grad) was playing in a gallery. We had a delightful chat with Bridget Ryan - broadcaster and gallery co-owner; her husband David had stayed at our house last fall when he was up in Fort McMurray directing A Few Good Men. And then I found myself in a big hug with Joey Hundert, founder and President of Sustainival.
It is the vibe of Canmore that I most appreciate, a vibe co-created by the people who live here and the people who come to visit. It is distinctly different than Banff, Jasper, Whistler or other resort-type communities that I've visited over the years.
The scenery here is spectacular. Heather and I went for an invigorating walk up to Grassi Lakes yesterday morning. While we both huffed and puffed walking up a moderate slope for almost 2 kilometres, the pay-off at the top was more than worth the effort.
Inspiring art, great people, and an abundance of nature walks and opportunities, Canmore is a place that hits all the right notes for me....and for Heather, based on what she tells me. While we have no immediate plans to move - this is going on the list as potential retirement spots.