Off the record: Saying goodbye to a second home

It's a bittersweet moment as I say goodbye to the Columbia Valley for my move across the country to Saint John.

When I first arrived in the Columbia Valley, the only intention on my mind was that my stay would be a pit stop in my life. I was a cocky—not to be confused with confident—22 year old kid fresh out of journalism school that thought of my move from Ontario to small town Invermere B.C as more of a couple lines on a future resume than a life changing experience.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It started with my first story in May 2016, covering the relief efforts by people throughout the Columbia Valley going towards the fire in Fort McMurray Alberta. As an outsider quickly turned insider, I vaguely understood the connection the Valley had to the people living in Fort McMurray, but was still shocked at the amount of support for a tragedy over 1,000 km away.

That became a reoccurring theme amongst nearly every story I did while writing for both the Invermere Valley Echo and the Columbia Valley Pioneer. Whether it was a fundraiser—trivia night for local Heather Bibby raising nearly $10,000 to help her fight cancer—or watching hundreds file into the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena to watch a struggling Columbia Valley Rockies team from puck drop to the buzzer, it didn’t matter; the community engagement within the Columbia Valley is second to absolute none.

Over the weeks that turned into months, it became contagious too. I went from being a person who thought of my time here as more of a job to someone who cared about local issues as if I’d lived here all my life. It became a commonality throughout stories in the newsroom where I said to my colleagues, “I can’t believe how much everyone cares about issue x or story y.”

As a journalist it made the job much more challenging but also more exciting. When I made a mistake the community held me accountable because they cared about the issues I was reporting on. Having lived in other small communities before, I know all too well the reverse relationship where locals don’t care about local issues or the newspaper that produces them.

As great as that is, if you ask anyone what they like most about living in the Columbia Valley, the quick and probably obvious answer should be the people. Starting with my own newsroom, I couldn’t have ask for a better group of colleagues to work with—even after having my ear talked off on the drive into the Valley by my publisher last April. Few in the Columbia Valley understand the amount of work that Steve and Nicole put into the production of two newspapers on a weekly basis and without the backbone of the advertising, publishing and front office help, I’m not sure either paper would get off the ground.

It’s this passion in the Valley that’s changed me as a journalist and as a person. Despite thinking it was just a way for me to move up in my career, it became something more. Through stories and events like Ball Fest, Rockies’ games, pond hockey, bonspiel, Canada Day parade, I found a second home here in the Columbia Valley.

It’s this that makes it incredibly bittersweet to say goodbye. As cliché as that probably is, it’s true. I’m moving onto another job across the country (again) in Saint John, but I’m leaving events, stories and most important, people that I’ve established relationships with over the last 10 months that will hopefully last a lifetime. That’s a tough one to swallow.

It’s why I know someday I’ll return to the Valley even if it’s just for vacation. So, in sticking with clichés, it’s not goodbye, it’s I’ll see you later.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read