Big Spirit Magazine, Issue #4 - Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

May 23, 2011 - issue 4 | | BigSpirit 3. Cover Story ... Cali Arnold, Curtis Comeau, Joel Matthews ...... well as college ball in California and at.
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W o o d

b u f f a l o

BigSpirit Changing

Views A photographer’s lens captures the beauty of Wood Buffalo

Future is bright

Community involvement is key to success of region

Home Run!

Everybody plays in this game

principal of

inspiration A new path for students



Did you know that 80% of our residents own their own home and that our schools are among the highest rated in Alberta? Fort McMurray is a community based on families, and we are better for it.


Cover Photo: Chris Salvo Contents Photos: (Clockwise) Chris Salvo, Patrick Kerby & Cali Arnold, Curtis Comeau, Joel Matthews

C o v e r S Itssoure y4

Cover 8 Capturing the Image

A fresh perspective of Wood Buffalo by Jamie Tobin

Features 13 Keyano theatre

Grand theatre in Fort McMurray by Kiran Malik-Khan

16 Wood buffalo’s foundation for the future Community engaged in the planning process by Nolan Haukeness

19 Play Ball

Smiling kids in baseball gear is what it’s all about by Nolan Haukeness

23 Soaring Spirits

Big Spirit alive and well with female air crew by Judy Monchuk

25 Jack of inspiration

Conklin Principal sets new path for students

by Kiran Malik-Khan

27 The Science Behind Studying Air Quality Wood Buffalo Environmental Association has worked to improve its air quality by Jane Percy

29 A commute worth keeping

Work in Fort McMurray lets families stay home in Newfoundland by Andrew Robinson

33 Vision quest

Eye doctor improves lives of his patients one eye at a time by Heather Reid

Columns 4 Message from the Mayor Celebrating our story by Melissa Blake


Fort McMurray Public Library hosts Team Trivia; Summer Solstice Records a Win at the First Annual Winter Wheelchair Rally; Events Wood Buffalo presents the Syncrude WinterPLAY Carnival; MacDonald Island Park hosts MI Community Celebrations; Enbridge Inc. sponsors the Safe Community Smoke Alarm Installation Program; Rooftop Campout for Muscular Dystrophy Surpasses Goal; Syncrude WinterPLAY Carnival presents the historical Three Forts Dogsled Race


Wood Buffalo has more than Big Spirit. Take the quiz and find out what else is Big about Wood Buffalo Issue 4 | | Bigspirit 3

FROM THE M a y o r

Celebrating our Story! At long last, the warmth of spring and summer is upon us! And with that comes the release of the fourth issue of Big Spirit magazine. It’s no secret that Wood Buffalo holds a very significant place at the heart of Canada’s energy future. As such, almost everything in our community is built to support that industry. However, we also know that the real heart of this dynamic northern community lies in the more than 100,000 citizens who live, work and play here! As I read through all the articles for this publication, the thing that stood out most was how multifaceted they are. It’s actually quite symbolic of the region. Our cultural diversity can be witnessed in our neighbourhoods, our workplaces, our schools and our recreation facilities. Our residents come from all over Canada and the world, each with a different purpose, to follow their dreams or to make a better life than the one they left behind. It’s our differences that make this community so special. For example, you’ll read about “Jack of inspiration”, a man who in just two years of living in the rural hamlet of Conklin has effectively changed the very core of their community school. He exemplifies the passion and spirit that exists in Wood Buffalo and the people that call it home. You’ll also meet a few of the faces behind our local arts and recreation scene, a