Seasons is Uzma Nadeem’s cover art for NorthWord’s seventh issue. Her canvas creativity invites quiet meditation and aptly so because the theme for the issue was Harmony. NorthWord – A Literary Journal of Canada’s North is Wood Buffalo’s only literary journal. Published by the Northern Canada Collective Society for Writers, a non-profit local group, it features northern writers and local artists on the cover.
Frank Creasey’s leadership philosophy is rooted in partnership and public engagement. “To be at the head is to be on the bottom,” Creasey says; “otherwise, you don’t touch as many people… I respect everyone and when you and your team operate in a partnership mentality, you always move forward.”
A 29-year-old Contact Engineer for Suncor Energy, Aditya Nookala and his connection to the community he now calls home runs deep.
“Fort McMurray and Suncor have offered me the opportunity of a lifetime,” says Aditya. “Not only do I get to further my career in chemical engineering, but I get to live in a community that is the perfect blend of urban and rural with people from all across Canada – and the world.”
In many ways, Aditya embodies the personal and professional tapestry of Fort McMurray today and the one of the future.
Abram Meagher discovered his love for Ukrainian dancing at the early age of eight years and he has been a member of the Fort McMurray Avrora Ukrainian Dance Club since. He will tell you that many Ukrainian eight-year-olds can dance better. “There are eight-year-old dancers that make me look bad,” he jokes. However, Meagher’s performance and actions tell a different story.
The decisions made by David Whitelock, Executive Director of Events Wood Buffalo, directly affect the amount of fun, enjoyment and entertainment that residents experience season in and season out. Relatively new to the community, although he has lived in Canada for three years, Whitelock moved to join Events Wood Buffalo last November from Vancouver shortly after he turned down the offer to run the Vancouver Music Festival.
“I started school in the fall of 1938,” says Ken Hill in a voice rich with memory and detail. “It rained in early winter that year, and Franklin Avenue, which was just a dirt road with very little gravel, became a sheet of ice. My teacher Miss Whelton and her students skated to school right along Franklin Avenue.”
It’s an amazing little slice of local history and, for Ken Hill, these kinds of memories of school are not unusual.
When she was born, her parents knew she was destined for something special, so they named her Destiny. Today, 18 years later, their daughter continues to make them proud.
A senior at Westwood Community High School and born and raised in Fort McMurray, Destiny has been getting straight A’s since Kindergarten. During the last three years of high school, she has ranked first and second out of 209 students. She juggles a busy volunteer schedule and she hosts numerous charitable events each year for her school and community.
Few newcomers to Wood Buffalo expect to see a Mosque in Fort McMurray, but it’s a significant reflection of the region’s cultural diversity and the fact that many schools in the Fort McMurray Public School District count students from as many as 60 countries sharing classrooms. From humble beginnings with a mere 40 families in 1992, the local Muslim community has grown to number more than 10 percent of the population in Fort McMurray and they need a bigger place to call home.