Smoky River Regional Economic Development
Last week, I wrote about why I call this region home. I have the luxury of being able to live anywhere I want in this country, but I choose here.
I started my list with the bottom five of my ten best things. In order from ten to six they were; winter, our small towns and village, elected officials, the cultural diversity and autumn. This week, I go through the top five of my ten best things I love about the Peace Smoky region.
Number 5. The Spring. I can’t believe anybody doesn’t like spring. Winter is great, but I must admit, I am glad when it’s over. It’s great to see the snow melt with the warming temperatures. The sun comes up for more than just a couple hours. The ground becomes soft underfoot, once again. Some find the smells of spring unpleasant, I love them.
In spring we see the newborn calves and foals running in the pastures. We see the ground turning green with new growth and we see the once barren trees blossom with new leaves. In spring people and animals seem to breathe a sense of relief and whisper to themselves, “we made it through another winter.”
In spring we pull out our summer stuff, make our summer plans and we smile a little more often.
Number 4. Long Summer Days. What I like least about winter, is the short days and long nights. In late spring and early summer, we have the best days in the country. Our summers may be short, but the fact that our days are almost 20 hours long makes up for that. In few parts of the country can you get off work at 4:30 and still have almost eight hours of sunshine left in the day. Heck, in summer, you can get home from work, mow the lawn, eat supper, play nine holes of golf, go to a movie and still be home before dark.
And it is these amazing long summer days that help our producers grow the best crops in the world, and we have studies to back that up.
Number 3. Wide Open Sky. Last spring, I had the pleasure of touring some business people from India around our region. Now keep in mind that India has about 1.3 billion people squeezed into about the same space as one quarter of all of Canada. I picked them up in Grande Prairie and then took them on a road trip to the Smoky region. At first they were somewhat astounded by the small number of people that lived up here. Then they were surprised by the distance between communities. Lastly, they were amazed we, in little rural Alberta, had all the modern conveniences of larger centers.
On our return trip, once they adjusted to how we live up here, they relaxed and then they noticed the sky. There was so much of it. It went all the way from the east to the west and all the way from the north to the south. And it was clean and clear. The vast prairie allowed them to see for miles away, and at the end of what they could see … more sky.
Number 2. The People. I have had the pleasure of working all over Alberta. We are a pretty good province with pretty great people. I may be biased because I live in this region, but hands down, Alberta’s best live in this region. We are nice and friendly. We are a pretty accepting group of people. We work hard to make a good living for ourselves and our families. We work hard to build great communities. We look after our neighbors and we help those less fortunate. None of that really makes us a whole different than other areas of the country.
What makes us different is our ability to adjust and overcome, and our willingness to work with our neighbouring communities to the benefit of all. In all the areas of the province I have worked, no other region can claim this bragging right like we can in the Peace Smoky region. Be proud of yourself.
Number 1. Canola Fields. Well we just finished another summer of blooming canola fields and so perhaps the sight and the smell of canola is still fresh in my mind. I went to elementary school in Toronto and we learned about the amazing tulip fields of the Netherlands. Well, with all due respect to the Netherlands, I would put our canola fields against their tulip fields any day. While the canola fields are spectacular all on their own, it is here in the Peace
Country where they are set on a background of expansive, azure coloured skies speckled with alabaster white clouds that they truly live up to a world class wonder.
So there you have it. You may not agree with my choices, but I would venture to guess you may have a list of your own. After all, you too are living in the region.