September 22, 2015: Alberta Rising

  An optimist in Canada is someone who thinks things could be worse. – Preston Manning 


Near Rocky Mountain House, AB



Near Coalhurst, AB

When photographing this story in late August, Alberta was under a blanket of haze from forest fires in British Columbia and Washington. The sunshine and blue skies that usually underscore the province’s image of bravado and confidence, were softened and suffused with smoke that arrived with little warning from far away, an unintended meteorological metaphor for what happened to the economy of Wild Rose Country. 


Near Coalhurst, AB



Near Cochrane, AB 

Job losses from the precipitous drop in the price of a barrel of oil are painful and, more likely than not, long term. But new generations of Albertans too young to remember life before Leduc #1, are growing to realize that a province defined by black gold is much more than that. 


Cline River, AB



Near Coalhurst, AB 


Near Three Hills, AB

In the rich farming belt around Taber, a farmhand told me about his brother, a “small” producer, who works 7 sections or 1,820 hectares (4,480 acres). Corn, potatoes, sugar beets, sunflowers, canola, onions, barley and wheat crops benefit from being within the Saint Mary’s River irrigation district, Canada’s largest. 100 kilometres north in Brooks, the pungent odour from numerous feedlots is regarded as the sweet aroma of prosperity. Traditional drivers of the rural economy, agriculture and ranching are once again proving their mettle. Some of that production crosses Lethbridge’s High Level Bridge, the highest and longest steel railway trestle in the world, bound for the Port of Vancouver and markets beyond.


Lethbridge, AB



Calgary, AB

A waitress in Calgary confided that the sizable decline in her restaurant’s business accurately reflects the city’s struggling economy. Many oil and gas exploration and service companies have been shuttered, but some have instituted innovative survival strategies by cutting hours of work and establishing job sharing. Everyone at least has a paycheque, albeit a smaller one than before.



Near Brocket, AB

While fishing on the banks of the Oldman River near Brocket, a school principal from Claresholm connected her upbeat demeanour to Alberta’s strong initiatives on literacy and numeracy. Despite some shortcomings in reach and curriculum, she felt that most students are receiving an education that will let them excel anywhere in the world.



 Near Morrin, AB


Near Drumheller, AB 

One of my favourite destinations is the Red Deer River Valley, famous for its fossils from the Late Cretaceous period. Recall the comment made by the school principal about young Albertans being given the knowledge to compete both locally and internationally? For future palaeontologists, there’s no need to leave home: Drumheller’s Royal Tyrrell Museum is the holy grail. 


Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB


Near Morrin, AB


This province will not be going the way of the dinosaurs. While the natural resource sector is staggering under global pressures and uncertainty, Albertans, never ones to shy away from hard work, find opportunities in entrepreneurial ventures and time-honoured occupations, adapting to the difficult realities of the present while nurturing ideas that will unlock tomorrow’s potential.   


 Near Morrin, AB


Near Drumheller, AB


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Voting day is October 19. Have you grown weary choosing between candidates? Escape pre-election fatigue by touring the Carey Management Philanthropy Photos gallery. There’s no lack of choice of images to inspire you.   


Always looking forward to your comments.


The Parting Shot: 

More than a tear or two were shed on August 23, 2015, as ex-Edmontonians – they still hold their Canadian passports – Paddy and Bo Broughton reminisced at their 50th wedding anniversary in Sedalia, Colorado, near their Castle Rock home. Among the guests was Brenda Spicer who, from 1970 to 1973, was the teenager next door to the Broughtons in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. Today, Brenda resides in Vancouver, BC.


Near Sedalia, CO

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