Original submitted photo and resulting painted portrait, 2020. Copyright People of Canada Portrait Project 2020
1. Where were you born?
Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
2. Where do you call home now?
Sherwood Park, Alberta
3. What are your occupations?
Community Policing Police Assistant
4. What are your roles in your community?
5. If you could attempt any other profession, what would it be?
6. What are you passionate about?
People, joy and laughter! The world can always use more magic.
7. Do you play any sports? Favourite sports to watch?
I love playing volleyball when we get the chance. I am no star...just love having fun. I really enjoy watching Ukrainian Dance! Folk dance is where it is at!
8. Any hobbies?
I am working on the celtic harp! I really want to learn Stairway to Heaven and maybe some Beatles tunes.
9. How do you celebrate your culture? and what are your family traditions?
I really like to celebrate all cultures and events. This includes Groundhog Day, Robbie Burns, Oktoberfest! I always like waking my daughter up with a bagpipe tune around Robbie Burns and Remembrance Day. My husband is a great cook and makes homemade perogies and cabbage rolls at Easter.
10. What is the most important issue to you as a Canadian citizen?
Today! Healthcare. We need to support each other through the current world crisis.
11. Where do you go to be in nature?
I love going out to our lake (Bonnie Lake) lot up by Vilna, Alberta (The name Vilna is polish for PEACE). This is a easy drive that is a hour and a half away from our house. On the drive I love the farmer's fields and little abandoned barns. The best part is stopping in Mundare, Alberta where they have the world's largest sausage statue and Andrew with the world's largest Mallard Duck. Vilna has the world's largest mushroom. I find the drive as relaxing as the time spent outdoors walking, bird watching and having a crackling campfire.
12. I have three days in your neighborhood, what must I not miss to get a real sense of life in your part of Canada?
I love our neighborhood because of the people. You would meet Jaap and his daughter Victoria that go for daily walks and pick up any garbage around the community. In the summer he wears his dutch wooden shoes while watering his flowers. Another neighbour has a side business selling lego. Who knew it could be so lucrative? We watch his summer sale and the frenzy of vehicles pulling up and shopping in his garage. Another neighbour drives his bicycle downtown Edmonton. He likes to do his part and also started a program to raise bees on the roof of the university. We have so many friendly, caring and wonderful people living in our community. Then there is my husband Aaron. He is always working on wood working projects or smoking meat with the garage door up. Everyone always comments to me...Does he ever stop? One of my favourite places to go was Greenland Garden. They have a beautiful greenhouse and you can get wood fired pizza and a drink too.
13. Do you have a favourite museum or art gallery?
In Sherwood Park we have Gallery 501. I also enjoy taking workshops that they offer..such as painting. In Canmore, Alberta I enjoy The Hive Gallery. They have some really interesting exhibits and also use the gallery for events. One time they asked the artists to include and little cabinet of trinkets and treasures and explain what inspired them as artists. I also really enjoy antique stores. I feel they are almost like being in a museum. I can sit there and read old postcards for hours and look at black and white photographs abandoned by family members. My husband thinks it is creepy...but I feel it is an inexpensive hobby.
14. I think I know that answer to this one, but I will ask anyway. Mounties, hockey, maple syrup, beer, maple leafs and eh…do you partake?
Do you wish Canada would get over all the stereotypical icons of Canadiana?
I am eating a Nannimo bar reading this question! I love it all and celebrate it! It is wonderful. Everyone should proudly fly our Canadian Flag!!!
15. What does being Canadian mean to you?
I think of the beauty of our Country from Coast to Coast, people and traditions!
16. Tell me about the train in the photo, where is this?
This photo was taken in Ardrossan, Alberta on a private acreage. We took all sorts of nice photos on that sunny summer morning.
17. Where in Canada would you like to explore that you have not yet?
I would like to head up north to Whitehorse. I had a co-worker move up north and is sounds like a great place to explore. I love chatting with locals and hearing stories where ever I go.
18. What do you feel are the most important issues facing youth today in Canada?
I think a feeling of hopelessness and lack of connection is an important issue facing youth. Clearly this is changing before our eyes. I think they will do wonderful things for Canadians and the world. I believe in the future. We are all learning.
19. How is your community preparing for the current Corona Virus pandemic?
Well schools were cancelled mid March. When I went to clear out my daughter's school items it was surreal. We had to book a time slot and were given 10 minutes to get out. She was excited looking at an extended holiday...not really understanding the impact. Now she says she misses seeing her grade 5 crush and friends. I often catch her looking out the window. across the street We can see the empty school from our house. I felt that our community was very proactive closing dog parks, recreation facilities and businesses. Everyone in town had been talking about the toilet paper crisis. I felt that people knew if they were locked in their houses they would not want to leave for a month. I knew something was happening the end of February when all hand sanitizer was sold out panicking from health care workers in infection control. I watched a BBC documentary my sister found that was a warning of what was to unfold. I sent it to many of my friends....most didn't watch it. Everyone was convinced it was a flu....but then I'd say....why are 60 million on a lockdown? Nobody had the answer for that one. I feel bad for the kids that were at the beaches....because of early mis-information. We need forgiveness and empathy. I am daily ever so grateful for the World Health Organization and its' Doctors. Their updates and messaging is inspiring. They have also shined a light on the world. I feel for countries that don't have access to clean water and lack of basic health care. We will all have to pitch in for better health for everyone around the world. Good people are everywhere around the world. We need to do our part to protect everyone. I find it terrifying going for groceries.....wondering if I am doing enough. Do I need to wipe down every package? Should I hold my breath when someones cart gets too close to mine in a small isle? OK.....bit of a rant.......I am just grateful we have food on our shelves and money in our bank. I am feeling like the zero waste Instagram blogger I follow is becoming much easier. I am fearful of what is to come with this disease. I know I have to remain positive......the unknown isn't a fun place to hang.
20. How do you feel about having your portraits painted? And who took your photo that you submitted?
I felt like this painting couldn't of been better timing. It brought back so many great memories of being the bear with Cst. Kelly. The photo was taken by our beautiful and equally talented friend Nikki Howard. We took an hour to drive around rural Strathcona County to take our own stock photos. I really wanted to get a picture with cows. We pulled into a farmyard with the police van to ask the homeowner for a picture. Sitting on the porch on was a elderly lady, holding a cabbage, no bra on and hard of hearing. She said we could take a photo with the cows and was not sure why we would want to. I emerged from the police van and it sent the cows into full out stampede with a brown cloud of dust. I felt like i jumped out of a crashed spaceship sending them in a frenzy. Poor cows. We did get time nice photos with the fence posts.
Thank you for your enthusiasm and your bravery in sharing a little slice of your life and perspectives on Canada! Thank you for all that you do and keep on spreading the JOY!