Guest Editorial: Fernie’s first impressions

Guest editorial by new reporter, Bryn Catton, on his time in Fernie and the impression it has given him.

I have been here for six weeks. I came without a job, without expectations and without a plan.

Plans have been made. I have never before seen a community such as Fernie. I came for a winter of riding but have been captured by this quaint city like so many of the people I have talked to.

White collar and blue collar do not exist in this society in the way I traditionally viewed the rolls; the DNA of Fernie has been spliced together over the cities lifespan to intertwine the two conflicting lifestyles into one bastard child that I have come to love.

As I write this I hear the rumble of a lifted pickup’s strait pipe or dumped exhaust from my desk echoing in resonance with the small farming town I hail from. This community is more than just a mining town, the influx of tourism and residents well-to-do statuses in the area create an aura of affluence to the area that is accented by the thriving arts community and high end storefronts that cater to more than just the couple in the Land Rover coming to their million dollar second home for the weekend.

I chose this city because so many other resort towns appear to be the luscious thriving communities they portray, but are so dependant on tourism that in truth they are a secluded tree whose bare branches claw for any attention or mention they can. Fernie is a product of its people, maintaining its roots as a mining town, the city has grown and branched out into other industries in more than just the primary sector. The sustainable community is thriving and is a flourishing fully-formed society that is interdependent on industries.

I spent most of the past four years in Ontario’s capital, Toronto. I studied at University of Toronto and hated almost every minute of it. The city thrived on a rat race mentality, work your way to the top as fast as you can, retire as fast as you can and sit on a big bank account.  A lifestyle cultivated and built by the society that lives in it. The Elk Valley has either turned its back on this outlook or the disease has not yet contaminated its communities. While no one has been late for an interview yet, the laid back atmosphere is infectious and has almost completely unwound the uptight coil that the city made me.

I have fallen in love with this community. I have lived here for six weeks and can whole-heartedly say that I cannot think of another place on earth I would rather live.