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McMurray Musings

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Not Your Usual Suspect…

Nick Bernard

He moved here almost exactly a year ago, having never even seen Fort McMurray or knowing much about it prior to his arrival.

“I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT FORT MCMURRAY before moving here,” says Nick Bernard with a charming grin. “I didn’t research it because the best way to figure out the town is to live in it without any preconceived notions.”

Nick, the Promotions Coordinator at local Rogers-owned radio stations Country 93.3 FM and Rock 97.9 FM, was just finishing his two year college program in Radio Broadcasting at Mohawk College in Hamilton when the opportunity to apply for a job in Fort McMurray arose. Nick had felt that a move to Alberta was a matter of fate.

“At the beginning of my two years of college I said to myself ‘Alberta would be a fun place to go’, and when I saw the job posting for Fort McMurray, I said to myself… ‘There,’” says Nick of his decision to apply for a job in a place so far from his home in Mississauga.

After those two years in college Nick was ready for the next stage, and some new opportunities. “Alberta is an adventure for me,” he says. “There is this infinite opportunity for people here.”

And it is the people here who have captured Nick’s attention in his time in the community. “Talking to people about where they are from, their origin story – you learn so much. It’s exciting,” he says, flashing that grin once more.

While Nick is often immersed in his work, he has been making time to get involved in some other activities, like his recent appearance in one of the short films that was made during the 100-hour Film Challenge that was part of YMM Podcast’s WinterREELS event. Part of the winterPLAY festival, WinterREELS challenged local film-makers to script, film, edit and produce a short film in 100 hours, with the resulting films being shown during the WinterREELS festival event. Nick played the starring role in the film entry from his co-worker, friend and aspiring local filmmaker Nolan Haukeness.

“I’d been hinting to Nolan for awhile that I would like to be involved in making a film,” says Nick, who has a history on stage, including high school musicals that tapped into his acting and singing skills. ‘Playing It Straight’, the film from Haukeness, was Nick’s first foray into the local acting scene – but probably not his last. “I’d like to audition for Keyano Theatre,” he says of possibilities for future stage appearances.

If you ask Nick about Fort McMurray a year after his arrival here he says: “I have zero regret about moving here – the key is to get involved. Don’t hold back, don’t sit in your room and be bored – there is so much out here, so much going on in the community.”

Nick Bernard, who moved to Fort McMurray having never seen the community and knowing little about it, is proof of the opportunity it holds for those who get involved – and for those who are not the usual suspects.


A freelance writer, blogger and professional communicator who is passionate about her child, her work, her pets, her community and the power of words, Theresa Wells believes perfection in life is achieved when she is surrounded by amazing people, fantastic stories, cold gin and really hot shoes.