Letters to Tumbler Ridge

Crobie and family
Crosbie Bourdeaux

Hi, from Crosbie (Hartford) Bourdeaux and family. I moved to Tumbler Ridge in December of 1982. We drove into town and couldn’t really see anything…. BECAUSE there was nothing. When we turned right off the gravel crazy goat trail of a road there was an ATCO trailer on our left that was the Bank and it had one of the two pay phones available, there was an auto shop on the right and a car wash. At that point I felt my stay in Tumbler Ridge was hopefully going to be short. I graduated from TRSS in 1983, and my parents stayed to move into the new high school as teachers. I left and went to Collage in Dawson Creek and then off to Victoria to attend University to complete my BA in Child and Youth Care. But TR pulled me back to the North. I spent 15 years in Dawson Creek working as a Family Counsellor travelling to TR on weekends.

I finally had the opportunity to return to TR full-time where I worked at TRSS as a support worker. My full circle was complete. In mid June 2014 I left Tumbler and I now live in Victoria, BC with my husband Tony and son John, and work as a Child Specific Adoption Recruiter. I miss the beautiful scenery and the friendly people of TR. I spent 32 years in Tumbler Ridge and it will always be a large part of my life.

We want to wish all of you in TR a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and wish all of you GOOD HEALTH AND BEST FOR THE UP COMING YEAR.

 

Dana Hynes

I grew up in Tumbler Ridge, attending both elementary and high school there. I was part of the Equinox program which was for teens who were struggling but I’m happy to say most of the kids in my class have gone on to be very successful adults.

I saw so many things in Tumbler Ridge, things that you don’t usually expect to see in a small town. We lost our home and everything we owned to a house fire. We had nothing left. Soon people showed up and started donating things to us, they found us a place to stay. The town pulled together and helped us.

A short time later my mom was diagnosed with cancer. The mines and the town were there for us again, holding a fundraiser for her.

I still consider Tumbler Ridge my home. There is a special place in my heart for this community. I made lifelong friends in TR. Like most teenagers I had my share of ups and downs but I am doing great now. I am currently working in Fort McMurray and grateful that I grew up in beautiful TR. Merry Christmas, all.

 

Glenda L Nikirk

Hello, Tumbler Ridge past friends and new residents. Merry Christmas and Joy throughout the coming year!

My family and I lived in Tumbler Ridge from 1995 – 2002. We moved to town as new parents, our youngest son Brett was two months old. We had been living in Fort St John and working for Teck Corp. in their exploration department. My husband Doug took a job back at the Bullmoose mine so he could be home every night with his family.

We spent just over six years, building our lives and family traditions in the surreal town. I say “surreal” because when I first entered TR, I thought it looked like a movie set, everything so new and perfect. We were blessed to find a company home at the end of the cul de sac on Chetwynd Place. The house was beautiful and we had a green belt and play ground right outside the door for our children.

While living here we built many wonderful lasting friendships and took full advantage of all what the community had to offer.

Tumbler Ridge was very special to us. No where have I ever experienced the community spirit such as what is alive in TR. When we moved to this rural remote centre, I was scared, not knowing a soul and was worried how this city girl would cope. We soon discovered that all of the residents were in the same position. No one was from Tumbler Ridge, as the town was simply not old enough. It was refreshing not to have entrenched cliques or socio-economic statuses to contend with. We were all cut from the same cloth: a plaid tapestry of working class people and we were all each others family.

When we left Tumbler Ridge it was because my husband no longer had a position at the mine, and I sadly had to resign my position as councilor for the municipal district.

We moved to Texada Island and have been there ever since. Doug is working as a shift supervisor for Texada Quarrying and I am employed by First Credit Union. Texada is now our home and it was an excellent place to raise our children, who are both now pursuing their own rainbows. Doug and I are looking forward to retirement in the next couple of years and hope to remain here on Texada.

I am very proud to have been blessed to live in Tumbler Ridge a community that has so much heart! Hope to see you again soon one day.

 

Donna Legault

Greetings Tumbler Ridge from the Legault family. The Christmas season naturally leads to thoughts of home and, with that, wonderful memories of Tumbler Ridge and the many people who make it such a fantastic place to live!

This year, Rodger and I are travelling from Fort St John, while Danielle and Kelsey are coming from Victoria to celebrate the holidays at Max and Carly’s home in Sylvan Lake. It is a special blessing to be together. Especially as this is the first Christmas and birthday for our newest family member, Sienna.

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas! A special thank you to the WNMS. This summer we had the chance to travel some of the trails. The new Titanic trail is amazing! Having the opportunity to explore and experience the natural beauty that surrounds Tumbler Ridge is a priceless, year round gift. Thank you.

All the best in the new year!!! Hope to see you in 2015.

 

Jade Steckly

In 1986, our family moved from Faro, Yukon to the brand new town of Tumbler Ridge so my dad could work at the mine. I was only 3 years old, but there are some things that I remember so vividly. I can still remember my first day of kindergarten at TRE, going for picnics at Flatbed, and eating burgers with my family at D&G Burgers.

Now that I’ve grown up, I didn’t go very far. I married a man from Carstairs, Alberta, and we live on a quarter section of land on the Tumbler Highway outside of Dawson Creek with our five daughters.

One of my favorite things about living here is that I’m still close to Tumbler. My mom still lives there, and we get to come visit her lots. On any given drive to Tumbler, I can be seen turning down the radio and telling my girls stories of what it was like to grow up there. “When I was a little girl here, it was so quiet that we could ride our bikes down the streets and not see more than one or two cars!” Or “if you take this trail, you can walk up the mountain to the Bald Spot. My friends and I used to go often when we were teenagers.” They love when I tell them about Grizzly Valley Days, and the parades we used to have.

And at this time of year, I tell them about the Christmas Eve Service growing up, and how we always had an open house at my mom’s after.

I have always appreciated that my mom is a warm, kind person, but it’s because of that, combined with her extreme hospitality, that my childhood memories are as cheerful as they are.

Our home was open to everyone. We had a small, cozy house, but the size didn’t stop my mom. I remember years where we were all standing shoulder to shoulder visiting, laughing, and eating….Those memories are some of the happiest! We always had such a family-like closeness with our friends there, and I’ll never forget those relationships.

Christmas looks different now, but I cherish the years that Daniel and I bring our girls to Tumbler for Christmas. I love being able to recreate some of that Christmas magic I felt as a girl there.

Merry Christmas to my mom, and all of the other extraordinary residents who make Tumbler Ridge what it is!

 

Jennifer Martin-Hawkes

Our life is one of constant moving. Settling in to new places, making new friends, while at the same time always saying goodbye to the same great places and friends.

Maybe it’s because it is Christmas, or that we have recently moved to Pangnirtung, Nunavut, but Tumbler Ridge has been on my mind a great deal lately. It was by far one of the easiest places to settle into and quickly make good and solid friendships.

Christmas was one of my favourite times of the year in Tumbler Ridge. It was always a white one…beautiful, “just like a picture print by Currier and Ives”. A true “Winter Wonderland.” The light displays were stunning and the town always shimmered in holiday expectation. More than the trimmings, there was so much community connectedness during the holiday. From Santa arriving by snowmobile, to school concerts, Purdy’s and fabulous Christmas parties. I especially loved TRE’s staff room during the holidays…the sweets and treats never stopped! I could get everything I needed for Christmas dinner in town and there were always lots of people to share it with.

I used to say, it was the most east coast town you could find in the northwest. To this day, I still miss the warmth and close-knit atmosphere of Tumbler Ridge and it will remain in my heart as one of the greatest postings we were blessed to be given.

 

 

kareana

Kareana Jensen

‘And so this is Christmas….and what have you done?’ Well, my head spins a little (with no mulled wine in sight) when I think of last Christmas and consider this 2014 version. It seems as if the sparkling snowy postcard that we lived in – complete with those perfectly frosted Christmas trees growing just on the side of the road, are a fanciful dream. I write sweltering in 80 percent humidity on a day that will hit at least 38 degrees and probably end like last night: in an epic battle of the heavens that will once again flood my downstairs laundry – and think back 12 months to our life in Tumbler Ridge.

About this time last year, I was organizing the amazing ‘Voices On The Ridge’ Christmas Concert; doing Zippy Bam Zambo & The Twinkles shows for Anglo Christmas parties and Holly Jolly Community Celebrations & wrapping up the Children’s Community Choir with a musical complete with polka dot, Christmas, Afro activity with 40 children. I was also trudging through snow to choose the perfect Christmas tree; cross country skiing & igloo making; hosting an ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ party & partaking in all the delights that a Northern Hemisphere Christmas has to offer (including life threatening trips to Grande Prairie for Christmas shopping in sub -30 temperatures).

This year, I have just finished with a whole school Christmas concert which I organized as a part of my job as school music teacher at a local school (and may I add, the polka dot, Afro Christmas number made another appearance as well as several Canadian moose yearning for cute reindeer in ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’). I have also just finished ‘The Sound Of Music’, which saw me propelled into a role of musical director, conducting an orchestra for the first time ever and putting together all the musical elements that comprise this most epic of musicals for four sold-out performances. Amidst all of this cultural activity, our Christmas tree has been pulled from its dusty box and decorated, whilst completely solar powered Christmas lights adorn my house. Recipes for Christmas salads, lavish ice-cream desserts and cold, sparkle-y cocktails litter the kitchen. Plans to meet with family and friends and to hit the beach are underway and Christmas tank tops are being worn by all. But despite all the obvious differences in this year’s Christmas experience, our Canadian Christmas has still managed to find its place amongst the gum trees.

Tumbler Ridge is here with us in the Christmas ornaments that adorn our tree and home. Given by special friends, the Broderick and Sharman families, they take pride of place. Tumbler Ridge is on our wall, in the family Christmas photograph taken by Eye For Detail Photography and is scattered across my table in the form of half written Christmas cards with Canadian postal addresses. At church on Sunday Tumbler Ridge was with us as my son reminded me of the way that the bango would lead the ‘Our Father’ at Mass and in our travels to school, as my children recalled the icicles that hung beautifully and dangerously from the roof of the Community Centre at this time of year and of the feeling of sitting by the Christmas Tree in the dark mornings with hot chocolate and watching snow fall outside.

Because this time of year is built upon traditions and the collective memories and experiences of years gone by, it is especially sentimental for us. We all yearn for our Canadian friends and miss the beauty of a White Christmas. We miss Tumbler Ridge and the community that took all of our hearts by surprise.

And so, Merry Christmas to you, Tumbler Ridge and to all my dear, special friends. Erin Hannah; Birgit and Kevin Sharman; The Broderick family; Ashley and Emmalyn Pindera; Jackie and Tim Caldwell; Stephanie and Peter Davies; Charles and Linda Helm, to name just a few. I know I also write on behalf of all those Australians who have left to resume life in new towns on this side of the globe. Tumbler, you were a treasured experience for us all and such a blessing. I close my eyes now to reclaim the image of the Town Hall adorned in Christmas lights and allow myself to feel the swell of emotion that has us all reaching for the tissue box now and again. An Aussie Christmas ain’t half bad, but I honestly believe that a Tumbler Ridge, Canadian Christmas will always be the epitome of our Christmas experience. When the Boomers land in our front yard 17 hours before the reindeer bring Santa to each of you, we will be thinking of you and hoping a little bit of our Christmas love warms your temperatures enough to allow for a bit of outside play!

 

Trevor and Tanya Seibel

Hello Tumbler Ridge! We hope this message greets you with all the best of the holiday season and a positive outlook for the coming year.

We lived in Tumbler from 2006 to 2009 and were fortunate to meet many wonderful people and experience the beauty that Tumbler Ridge has to offer. We currently live in Coldstream BC where Trevor is the Chief Administrative Officer for the District of Coldstream and Tanya is the Office Manager for a gynecologist/obstetrician office. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our friends in Tumbler Ridge a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Take care!

 

Sue Hammond

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends in Tumbler Ridge from Dawson Creek ~ Mile 0 on the Alaska Highway! We didn’t go far but even that was too far. We miss our home town more than words can say.

Twenty seven years of precious memories are ours to keep. We raised our daughters Elisa and Karen there, saw them marry, start families of their own in TR, retired in TR, shucks we even have our burial plot there, so you know we planned on staying there forever!

Ken felt the need to be closer to a hospital after his health declined in 2011 so here we are, his health continues to slowly decline from the avid golfer and walker he once was. God has however been good to us and we will stay strong through this new chapter in our lives.

We feel privileged to have lived in this beautiful town of Tumbler Ridge and to have been a part of it in good times and bad we will not forget any of you but must give a big Christmas hug from the heart to Dr. Helm and Barb S. at the clinic for all the care, compassion, and humour over the years and my church family at TR Fellowship Baptist, your prayers and encouragement then and now are so very much appreciated.

A word of encouragement. During this economic down turn in the town stand together for it is standing united that TR will once again rise. Help one another through little acts of kindness. Volunteer your skills. Smile at a stranger, they may be your next friend. Encourage your mayor and council!

Merry Christmas! Oh yes if you are ever in Walmart you may see Ken sitting on “Hugo” his walker, stop and say hello. God Bless!

 

Jael Barrios

I was raised in Tumbler Ridge, and lived there from 1987 – 2001, then again from 2005-2007. It is where I grew up, where I spent my childhood playing in the forest, climbing trees, exploring the mountainsides, and discovering new waterfalls! Tumbler Ridge is a memory of some of the best and worse times of my life, but it is my home town and it will always hold a special place in my heart, wherever I am in the world!

I would just like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from Down Under especially everyone from the Baptist Church, my beautiful mom and little sister, Jerrilyn and Dante Schembri, my Uncle Trent, Aunt Colette and cousins Zoe and Bree. While we are suffering in the heat of the sun at Christmas here in Australia, it is the only time I miss the snow and envy the White Christmas you will be enjoying. The lights from the many decorated houses glistening on the snow, and the Christmas Eve Service at the community centre are a few of the things I miss most! From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!