More advice for new residents
So you’ve nearly survived winter, and sometime between the end of March and the beginning of June the weather may warm up enough for you to dare to go outside unencumbered with fleece, wool, boots, hats, gloves, and scarves. Or it may not. In the hope that it does, here are some of the things you may look forward to enjoying.
What they don’t tell new arrivals.
I LOVE LIVING DOWNTOWN. APART FROM THE WEATHER, I can sometimes forget I’m even in Fort McMurray. There are new immigrants everywhere and at times it can feel like I’m back in Johannesburg or Nairobi. Plus, if I need a cab, there are always about a dozen of them available.
The diversity of this town surprises visitors. There are more than 100 different nationalities, nearly as many languages, and a spread of beliefs and cultures that cover almost the entire range of human history. But sometimes I think we do these new residents a disservice. It is difficult to move from a country on the equator to a part of the world that actually has seasons. It’s one of the reasons why we talk about the weather so much. Up here if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you, you might not make it back home. I remember at the Christmas parade about three years ago, watching a new family climb out of their vehicle dressed in their finest traditional clothing. They lasted about five seconds before the heads dived back in and their saris were covered by bulky winter jackets.
Many of the residents of Fort McMurray know that off-roading options here are limited. The more land allocated to the growth and development of Fort McMurray, the fewer accessible trails for these motorsports. That is, until 2012, when Shane Ganong founded the Northern Off-Road Society of Fort McMurray, a local not-for-profit organization. Shane, an avid motorsport enthusiast, wanted to share his love for the daring sports by providing the residents of Fort McMurray with a safe environment to practice various types of recreational motorsports and off-roading.
IMAGINE… A HOT HEAVY SUMMER’S DAY WITH BUGS flitting about, filling the air with their hum. You’re trekking along one of the many wooded trails dotting out region, maybe along the Horse River valley where bitumen is clearly visible along the hillside. You pause, look around at the stillness and realize you are stepping where dinosaurs once roamed.
How cool is that?
I COME FROM A LONG HISTORY OF CAR PEOPLE. My maternal lineage brims with the sort of people that spend their Sunday afternoons detailing their cars with q-tips; the sort of people that would never eat a burger within the leathery confines of their vehicles; and the sort of people that would never, under any circumstance, park next to a minivan. “Ugh. Minivans. A sure sign of rugrats with grubby hands,” scoffed my Grandpa Jimmy.