Humans of the Columbia Valley

In a weekly series, Columbia Valley resident Katie Watt looks at some of the most interesting personalities of everyday citizens.

By Katie Watt

A few years ago, back in 2010, a New York photographer by the name of Brandon Stanton launched his now famous website Humans of New York. For his blog, Stranton posts photos and interviews conducted with the everyday people (usually not named) throughout the city, and essentially breaks down the boundaries that separate us from one another; uncovering the stories and aspects of our lives that make us more than just another passing face in the street. I was inspired by Brandon’s work, and I thought that it would be interesting to localize the idea in an effort to get to know more of the people living in this place we call home. Hopefully it works out, and I’m very excited to begin hearing some new stories!

First story:

“Living here, there’s so many advantages… in the valley, there’s so much to chose from. You look at the other areas, like in Nanton, Alberta, and in Creston where I lived and it’s just not the same”

“So what makes here special?”

“What it offers. Golfing, hunting, fishing, camping- everything is here right at our back door, and we don’t have to drive far. You live in Calgary and you drive for three and a half hours to come here because where are you going to go in Calgary? You don’t have the lakes and streams- well, I mean, they have em’, but it’s a different setting. This is more relaxed; it’s not as fast paced. City life is a fast paced life, but here it’s what we call ‘valley time’. People are here for a reason and it’s because they want that peace and tranquility.”

“Did you go to school after high school?”

“No, but anybody can go back to school and learn. It was a lot harder because I was sittin’ in a class with a whole bunch of 20-year olds and I’m 50 so they’re calling me grandpa… But look at me today. I’m very proud of what I did. I came out of trades school with an 86 per cent percent average, so not being in school for 30-something years and being able to challenge that curriculum with the math and everything else- my brain was smoking and it was a struggle. It was a challenge but I did it, and you know what? I was very proud of myself, so don’t say you can’t do it, because there’s no such words as can’t.”