Nestled on the corner of Morrison Street and Fraser Avenue, backing onto beautiful Borealis Park, is a serene retreat at the edge of downtown Fort McMurray. Chez Dubé, a rambling 14-room, 12,000- quare-foot auberge, may very well be the most distinctive building in Wood Buffalo – a countrystyle inn complete with a turret and a wrap-around veranda that stands out in a city filled with new construction, contemporary family houses, mushrooming condos, classic bungalows and converted mobile homes.
Sheldon Germain, who grew up in Fort McMurray, remembers long winter days spent playing shinny with his brothers on their backyard skating rink, which had been flooded with the garden hose. The weather didn’t bother them; all that counted was the game. “We all imagined we were going to be the next big NHL star,” he recalls fondly.
It’s a typical Friday night for Melanie Framp. As the sun sinks behind the pines that fringe Fort McMurray’s horizon, she is hurrying down Franklin Avenue en route to yet another meeting. As treasurer for the local United Way and a member of several committees, Framp’s evenings are frequently spent in a boardroom at the Redpoll Centre, helping guide one of the region’s biggest non-profit organizations.