Through our eyes, through our lives, in our words

Through our eyes, through our lives, in our words

English students at MBSS were invited to compose essays on Cranbrook and what it means to be home.

English students at Mount Baker Secondary School were invited to compose essays on the subject of Cranbrook — what the community means to them, what’s good about it, what’s bad about it, what sets it apart from everywhere else, what it means to be home. The Townsman will publish these submissions over coming issues — a great way to segue into summer. We thank the writers for sharing their thoughts and literary expression.

When The Popcorn Man Graced Downtown Cranbrook

By Sarah Hyde

As a child, I had no interest in a person’s name nor background, only whether or not he was friendly, and what he had to offer. Therefore, this is all I can tell you — and all I need to tell you — about the man who is the epitome of my childhood joy: he sold Kettle corn in front of Royal Bank.

Once a week, twice if we were lucky, my grandmother would be running errands with me and my brother strapped into the back of her Buick. We sat obediently, arms to ourselves, waiting for her question. Every time she would ask, “Would you like to visit the popcorn man?” my brother and I would pounce on the question, all of our contained childhood energy erupting through our ear-to-ear grins in a gleeful “Yes!”

Always “yes”. Never “sure”, “yeah”, or “mmm-hmm.” Any “slack” on our reply would deem us unworthy of the Popcorn Man’s divine creation, and we would be sped home, hands empty of sweet-salty starch and eyes full of tears. We only made this mistake once or twice; the Popcorn Man’s Kettle corn was worth adherence to manners, even to a six and seven-year-old.

My grandmother would pull into the Handicap parking space directly in front of the man’s stall as if it were her personal driveway. The man’s smile was as warm and sweet as the gold stored in the plastic bags hanging from his booth. My grandmother and he would exchange pleasantries, then exchange money for Kettle corn — always pleasantries first. My brother and I would chant “Thank you” before tearing into our bags and stuffing our eager mouths with the harmonious blend of sweet and salty, of light and crunchy. Our ecstasy seemed to be contagious; the man and my grandmother mirrored our radiant smiles and rosy cheeks without even having to eat the Kettle corn.

One day, after a particularly long errand journey, we pulled up to Royal Bank only to be greeted by empty space and cold cement. We could almost still smell the butter and sugar as we exited the car.

“He moved to Australia,” a teller at the bank said as she left the building.

I imagined him selling his popcorn on the side of a dusty road under a blazing sun, kangaroos hopping nonchalantly in the background.

I hope that is exactly what he is doing, and that two Australian kids are strapped obediently in the back seat of their grandmother’s Buick, on their way to see him.

Small Town, Big Talent: Cranbrook punches above its weight when it comes to theatre

By Anna Ruoss

It is truly wonderful to see your average local teacher, businessman or student blossom on the stage.

The theatre community in Cranbrook has proven to me that even in a small town one can find big talent and even bigger personalities.

The theatre is full of ambition, laughter and acceptance in a place that provides a space of self-expression. Having been the dance choreographer for five musicals as part of the Community Theatre and Mount Baker’s Theatre has made an impression on my life.

Walking into the intimidating black walled drama room at Mount Baker in Grade Ten was like walking into wonderland. I was immediately drawn in by the props and posters that added depth to the room. The friendliness behind each unique cast member spoke to me the moment I first started working with them.

Since Grade Ten the drama room became a second home where I could relax and express myself. I crave the subtle ambiance of the room that is filled with creativity, optimism and focus. If there is anything that gets me through a lengthy day at school, it is the promise of drama rehearsal later that day.

The familiar hum of the drama room can be heard from the exterior of the school doors when I arrive ready for an evening’s dance rehearsal. I like to begin the dance practices with a warm up that is directed at the energy of the cast that particular day. If bubbly and energetic we center ourselves with breathing and stretches, but on days where the energy has been exhausted I charge the room with upbeat music and lead a Zumba like dance combination to get one’s juices flowing. After the warm up, the rehearsal is focused on specific dances. The cast practices my choreography and I watch and instruct on style, timing and execution. Although it is rare that a cast member has previous dance experience, I am continuously impressed by everyone’s unabating enthusiasm and ability to learn. My favorite moments is witnessing one of my musical numbers come together onstage and watching the cast perform with ease and grace.

The experience and comradery of the Community Theatre struck me after my experience with high school productions. To my delight, the cast that makes up a production are the many adults from around the community; they are adults who all have their own story to tell. The individuals of the cast carry an inspiring passion and love for what they do. Although I am young and perhaps less experienced than most, the cast opened their eyes and ears and took in all I had to offer. The beauty of any rehearsal in the Community Theatre is that there is never a bad idea and everyone is welcome.

Behind every show, put on by the school or community, is a great team of people and many hours of work. The cast, whom we see on stage, puts in the work, with help from the director, to learn their lines and build their character. The musical director works with the cast to progress their songs and work with the orchestra to nail the timing and music. As the choreographer, I teach the dancing to fit in the music and help the cast with staging and timing. The stage craft builds the sets to bring the scene to life, while the costume department fits outfits to every cast member and character. The backstage manager is essential for a smooth show, and I cannot forget the lighting and sounds techs, as well as all the backstage crew. Everyone communicates and uses their talent to put on an unforgettable performance.

The theatre brings one’s stories and fantasies to life and generates a passionate spirit in myself and the community. Creation and expression is some of what brings people of all sorts to the theatre. High school students and working adults alike make up this unique family in Cranbrook with whom we can all share our joy and passion.

The Community Forest: A Piece Of The Kootenays

By Jacynda Conroy

People across the globe are attracted to the beautiful landscapes of the Kootenays in British Columbia. Located in the heart of the Kootenays is our small city of Cranbrook. Not only is Cranbrook a tourist site, Cranbrook is also welcoming for its locals and visitors to get out and experience various activities within our peaceful and beautiful Community Forest. Some people prefer higher mountains to climb and larger lakes to swim in so they extend their adventures into Cranbrook’s surrounding regions. However, the Community Forest is a piece of the fascinating landscapes in the Kootenays and does not fall short from providing every opportunity of adventure for its guests.

The Community Forest rewards its guests by serving as a backyard for all people, of all ages, to enjoy. Many interconnected trails are scattered throughout the forest for various opportunities of adventure whether it is biking, hiking, running or quading.

The Community Forest is well prepared with its fantastic signage navigating its dirt roads and trails. Whether it is a two-hour bike ride or a thirty-minute walk, the Community Forest provides the most convenient trail for the escapade.

Even when the snowfalls, the multi-purpose trails provide wide varieties of trails for cross-country skiing and show shoeing to enjoy just as much as biking or hiking in the summer. The Community Forest is also a great place to share adventures with beloved pets, such as dogs or horses. Most assured, whether it is walking a dog or riding a horse, each adventure will challenge the pet as well as its owner, leaving them wanting to explore more.

While the Community Forest provides a great environment for extensive activities, its beautiful landscape is the most appreciated. The groomed trails navigate pathways beneath overhanging branches from towering pine trees, drawing its guests into the beauty of the forest. A large pond, located at the south entrance of the forest, attracts many types of birdlife. The pond with all its inhabitants, such as deer, create a spectacular scene to sit and watch nature at its finest.

Furthermore, trails lead to the highest hills in the forest to overlook our small city and its beautiful surrounding area. One could see as far as Cranbrook Mountain and to the magnificent mountains of Fisher Peak. Few people could deny the Community forest of its continual peace and exceptional beauty.

The Community Forest is promising to provide activities in which someone could also experience in the depths of the Kootenays. Even more, people of all ages and abilities can find their niche within the Community Forest. Locals nor visitors have to travel far from Cranbrook to enjoy their favorite activities because the Community Forest may just have what they are looking for.

Grocery shopping: A Parallel Universe

Choose your Cranbrook: Endless stop-and-chats or anonymity without escape

By Sarah Brown

As a child, I quickly learned to detest the chore of grocery shopping. Even though my mother would reassure me that the excursion would be quick, I knew that 45 minutes of my precious play time would be wasted. This was not a result of my mother’s forgetfulness or inability to organize a list. This essential chore was time consuming for a specific reason. The sole reason for each extended grocery outing was that there were always people whom we knew at the grocery store.

Cranbrook is unique in a sense of size and population. It is right in the middle of a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is a city so large and populated that there is no chance that acquaintances will meet at a public place by chance. At the other end is a town so small and scarcely populated that the chances of acquaintances meeting at a public place are slim. Cranbrook’s placement right in the middle of a population-size spectrum fosters this constant encounter of people.

It is common for grocery shoppers in Cranbrook to see, in a single outing, five or more people with whom they are acquainted. This may be an unexciting reality for many of Cranbrook’s citizens. Yet this reality is an unfathomable fantasy for citizens of other big cities or small towns.

Most city or town shoppers’ experience in grocery stores is a driven mission: a short, impersonal experience without distractions. When out-of-town folks come to town to visit relatives or friends, they may be faced with a challenge at the grocery store. These visitors are baffled when faced with the opposite of their regular shopping routine. Their mission of obtaining their goods in a single run has now been inconveniently disrupted. It seems that every time that they turn a corner of an aisle, they literally bump into another person with whom their relative or friend is an associate. Then once again another casual conversation is initiated to their dismay.

There are many benefits and disadvantages of having this kind of environment whilst grocery shopping. Seeing people whom one knows while grocery shopping provides a strong sense of community and friendship. Our social bonds strengthen through the frequent interaction, and we become more aware about the community’s events. However, the actual excursion can be time consuming if our interactions, that were intended to be brief, turn into a full-blown conversation.

A drawback of the Cranbrook grocery shopping experience is the lack of anonymity for shoppers. Occasionally, people have rough days and have the need to be able to shop without running into people, and having to put on a fake smile while engaging in conversation. Our current societal expectations pressures consumers to look presentable while shopping. This may be inconvenient for people want to shop wearing sweatpants and a sweater with three holes in it. These people may feel pressured by our current society to look presentable as they are aware of the guarantee to see someone they recognize.

Furthermore, the lack of anonymity leads to a lack of privacy. Occasionally people want to buy items without having everyone knowing what they are buying. If people need to buy those intimate items or a guilt-indulged bag of Cheetos, it can cause an awkward situation as the other person is judgingly eyeing up items in a cart. In Cranbrook, with the increased encounters with acquaintances, this privacy is a luxury that we do not have. Instead our purchases are well-known to our colleagues.

Ultimately, the Cranbrook grocery shopping experience is unique, whether it is positive or negative for people. Grocery shopping is an essential outing that everyone needs to endure in order to survive. Whether we embrace this task as a positive or negative experience, it is an important task that we must inevitably face straight on. For those who see this experience as negative, we can try to incorporate some humor into our awkward outings rather than fill it with doom and gloom.

Next time the judgmental eyes stare down at that bag of Cheetos, open them up and offer to share instead of feeling shame. We are all humans and have the same need to fulfill our appetites. So, let us celebrate the differences in our taste, and celebrate the journey of the shopping experience rather than focusing on the end goal.

The Conquest Of Fisher Peak In Unbroken-in Boots

By Emma Jensen

I had convinced my cousin and uncle to conquer the famous Fisher Peak with me as my dad had wimped out — “I have done it once and I don’t need to do it again”.

I tightly tie up my brand new boots before we start the hike. Within the first hour, I began to have doubts that I will conquer the local mountain which has been on my bucket list for years. As I live in Cranbrook I have the pleasure of spending my time in its beautiful wilderness, so I know that if I can’t finish the hike today, I will have another opportunity in the future.

But remembering how frustrated I become every time I look at Fisher Peak gives me the extra push to continue.

I like setting goals for myself, but often skip the necessary steps to achieve them, and had not broken in my boots like mom nagged me to do. Every step I took felt like a struggle, and I knew I had a blister building up on my heel. Halfway up, near the lakes, my heel started to really hurt. Knowing my cousin and uncle are avid hikers, I assumed they would be prepared and have band-aids in their first aid kit. Nope. My cousin forgot to take the kit out while we were changing cars. Thankfully, another group right behind us was willing to help out a hurting hiker. My uncle didn’t want to go on as he worried the blister would get worse.

I did think about turning around, but then stared annoyingly at the peak. I thought to myself, “I have already made it this far. I can’t turn back now” and insisted that we continue.

Everytime he asked how I was doing, I lied, and said I was doing great as I was screaming inside. My cousin could tell but didn’t say anything. She knew he would make us turn around and was as determined as I was to conquer the peak. I hadn’t looked down once since we started as I was so focused. When my cousin, who was the first to get to the peak, turned around to look down, I saw her worried gaze. I slowly turned to look down the mountain, and in that moment, I felt afraid. I have never experienced fear like that even though I’ve skied double black diamonds. I reminded myself that fear can’t control you; you control fear and bravely conquered the peak as if the first person summiting Mount Everest.

We began our descent knowing a big feast and a hot tub awaits. If I had been on a pair of skis and not in my hiking boots, this descent would have been no problem.

Finally fear got the best of me. With tears running down my face, I call my dad for backup. Thank goodness for cell reception! He tells me, “Suck it up, Princess. You gotta do it either way so get on with it. Get on your bum and slide down”. That worked but left a hole in my pants and a lost rain jacket. Tears begin to run down my face when I realize my jacket is gone. My cousin felt badly for me, dropped her bag and immediately ran back up the hill to search for it with no luck.

After a painful descent, I had conquered my goal. I was so proud of myself but was hungry and in pain. I got home and enjoyed a well deserved meal and relaxing hot tub. Oh, I almost forgot! I did leave a note at the bottom telling people about my jacket. Guess who got their jacket back a couple days later?!

This hike taught me several lessons.

First, moms are for making sure you are prepared and dads are there to kick your ass.

Second, hiking communities are tight knit and look out for each other, and third (this might sound cliche) but you really can do whatever you put your mind to.

I live in such a beautiful place and feel grateful that I can take advantage of our mountains and create awesome new experiences and fun memories.

The Paradise That Is Jim Smith Lake

By Kaori Fletcher

If you ask a local what he or she thinks of Cranbrook, they would probably answer with the obvious critiques: the potholes are evil, there is nowhere to go when you’re bored, and winter never ends.

Whenever I am asked what I think of Cranbrook, I immediately think of all the amazing qualities, like the delicious local restaurants, the strong sense of community and intriguing history.

However, I will always remember the Saturday afternoon I drove ten minutes to Jim Smith Lake from my home, and I will always describe it exactly how beautiful it was.

The sweet scents of water lilies and the smell of pine trees fill my lungs as I inhale the fresh mountain air. The touch of rough wood from the dock underneath my fingers and legs will somehow feel soft on a warm, sunny day. The kids screaming and splashing in the fresh lake water is always overpowered by the commanding call of loons across the lake and the crisp breeze rustling through the thick tree branches.

When I think a place like this just could not get better, I decide to look around. I see the bright blue, clear skies and luscious trees that shadow over the green grass. The still lake will show the reflection of the powerful mountains that surround the forest. The people will laugh, play, and enjoy the beautiful summer day at the lake. Hours after I arrive, I’ll decide that it is best I head home from this gorgeous and delicate place. I struggle to leave its gracefulness, as if someone had tied ropes to me, connecting myself to the dock. As I walk across the squishy sand and soft blades of grass, I pass by all the little critters that are fortunate enough to call this lake their home. Gawking at young children from their holes, the gophers scurry underground whenever someone comes within five feet of them. The ducks lead their young in a long line waddling towards the water, making frequent stops whenever a person wants to give them a piece of a sandwich.

As I walk towards my car, I hear the wind across the lake, and see the sun sparkling across the surface as if it’s saying goodbye to me. However, I know that tomorrow I will come back for some more of the peace this place brings.

In Cranbrook, you’re bound to run into a few people who claim they would rather live anywhere else in the world. However, what they don’t tell you is that our history is rich, our community is strong, and our backyard is beautiful. From Jim Smith Lake to Perry Creek Falls, Cranbrook is in the centre of all the most serene places known to the world.

So, if you’re new to the area, I strongly encourage you to explore and climb our mountains, swim in our lakes, and hike our trails. You will find small treasures, and create memories that will never be erased from your mind, because life in Cranbrook is stunning.

Soccer Is Coming Out Of Hockey’s Shadow

By Mike Stambulic

If you were asked what is the number one sport in Cranbrook, the obvious answer would be hockey. Parents and kids alike are willing to freeze in the Kinsmen Arena, and it is strange for a Cranbrook citizen to neither watch or play the sport.

Soccer has always sat in hockey’s shadow, but soccer is now starting to become more popular in Cranbrook: youth registration has been consistently growing, new leagues are starting to emerge, and plans for constructing an indoor facility are well underway. With teams for any individual, adequate facilities, and an affordable price point, soccer has the potential to become Cranbrook’s biggest sport.

There is no shortage of soccer fields in Cranbrook. If you ever want to kick the ball around, there will be an open field at any time of the day, and you can play for as long as you like. Moir Park, Mount Baker School, Kinsmen Park, Laurie School, and Mountain View all have excellent fields, which work great for just a few friends playing, or for a full on game.

When these fields are covered underneath the snow, school gyms can be booked for weekly or bi-weekly use.

Furthermore, a new option may become available for soccer players in the near future. Plans for an indoor artificial turf complex have been set into motion, with multiple donations being made for its construction.

Ultimately, Cranbrook is the perfect place for current and prospective soccer players.

It seems today that playing a sport will cost an arm and a leg. Affordability is a significant factor to consider when selecting a sport. Equipment, registration fees, facility fees, tournament fees, and travelling expenses make some sports ridiculously expensive. Thankfully, soccer is still relatively affordable for the most part. All it takes is a pair of cleats, socks, and shin pads to start playing the game.

Moreover, booking a field is usually cheaper than booking ice time, and it is usually unnecessary to book a field in Cranbrook. In regards to youth sports, soccer does not have an excessive amount of travelling. One or two tournaments may be outside of the Kootenays, whereas sports like volleyball and hockey entail several long trips to Alberta.

Consequently, soccer is able to provide healthy competition for youth, and recreation for adults at a reasonable price.

If you ever wanted to start playing soccer, there is local team or league that would suit your skill level and age. There are several youth soccer options in Cranbrook: McDonald’s soccer, house soccer, rep soccer, and the Whitecaps Academy. Additionally, Mount Baker Secondary has both a boys and girls soccer team, which is available to all students. This ultimately makes the sport open to any kid in Cranbrook, and gives them the opportunity to progress throughout the sport. For adults there is a recreational mixed league, an old-timers league, two competitive local teams, an indoor winter league, and drop in soccer throughout the summer. Whether you are just looking for a hobby or a competitive sport to play, soccer is an excellent choice in Cranbrook.

Soccer has grown immensely in Cranbrook for the last few years. From the introduction of the Whitecaps Academy to the newly proposed indoor facility, soccer’s future seems bright here in Cranbrook.

Although hockey is integral to Cranbrook’s identity, soccer may find itself on the same level as hockey one day.

The Memories, As We Are Making Them

By Michael McMahon

I hear the bells toll in the clock tower as I ride past the shops and stores. I stop in at Max’s Place and grab lunch. After that I walk over to the bookstore, browse for a while, then pick up my bike and go to the library. I walk around, picking out a book. Eventually, I bike over to Gyro Park and sit for awhile and people watch. I go into the trails of the Community Forest and bike for a little bit. When I come out of the trails, I bike to Woodland’s and pick up a slush. I sip on the sweet drink, and when I’m done I head home.

The paragraph above is my ideal summer’s day in Cranbrook. This is what I will remember when I move out and go off to college. This is what I’ll think of when people ask me “what is your hometown like?”

I’ll remember walking to school, and flying a kite in Moir Park. I’ll remember going to the movie theatre, swimming in the pool at the Rec-Plex, and biking around town with my friends. Golfing with my Grandpa, playing cards with my Grandma.

These are my best memories of this town

I’m not saying this town doesn’t have flaws. There are the drug problems, which can’t be more apparent to teenagers. There are roads with potholes the size of small cars, the deer that run rampant in the city, and the high school that’s falling apart.

But all things considered, it’s a wonderful place to live. I moved here nearly nine years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since.

This town is the perfect size. It’s not too big, so anywhere I need to go I can walk or bike, but it’s not so small that there’s nothing to do.

My parents grew up here, moved away, and moved back to raise my sister and I. My grandparents have lived here forever, and I’ve been here since I was seven. If I move away, I know I’ll miss the mountains I see every morning when I look outside my bedroom window.

This is one of the best places in the world to grow up.

The Living, Breathing Forested Heart Of The City

By Sarah Schieman

Cranbrook is a rural city brimming with outdoor enthusiasts who try to spend their spare time outside whenever possible.

The Community Forest, a primary stop for outdoor recreationalists in the city, sees all; users —ranging from young to old, rookies to veterans, and visitors to locals — enjoy reaping the benefits this central forest has to offer.

Our forested area encourages the citizens of Cranbrook to lead a healthy, active lifestyle by providing an easily accessible, public, and maintained outdoor trail system. Although some may appreciate this outdoor hideout more than others, this vast, green landscape is arguably Cranbrook’s greatest asset.

The Cranbrook Community Forest is a 2,000-hectare natural playground where children first become familiar with the activities and the natural habitats that the area has to offer. School buses may be seen dropping students off at the entrance of the city’s most interactive classroom. Here they are transported to a new forested environment to experience the diversity held within it. This experience also allows children to become aware of this valuable resource available to them within their community.

My first experience within the Community Forest was through a school conducted hands-on experiment. We would spend time observing a selected area and trying to notice any changes. From there, my use of the Community Forest has expanded rapidly. My passion for outdoor recreation became a reality, due to the accessible learning platform offered within our city.

Another benefit that the Community Forest offers to its users is some of the greatest within-city trails for all season activities. For example, in many cities, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and hiking are all time-consuming activities that require a fair amount of planning and preparation. Because the Community Forest is accessible, it allows resdients to leave their houses on a whim and experience both the mental and physical benefits of outdoor recreation.

Many people feel timid when trying new sports; the Community Forest suppresses those concerns in the sense that the area may feel like a familiar backyard. The forest trails are made to welcome all ability levels and the community of trail users emit the same welcoming feeling and are always happy to see newbies using the beloved trails.

The greatest asset the Cranbrook Community Forest has to offer is the joy it brings to its users. It is impossible to exit the forest feeling grim. The smell of fresh air, the sound of birds chirping, and the feeling of a heart pumping seems to resolve almost any problem. The forest’s name is fitting since this space is a pride to Cranbrook and does in fact build a sense of “community” for its users. Families spend time together, hiking or picnicking by the lakes. Friends meet up in the parking lots, armed with their bikes or cross-country skis. Teachers educate students, speaking to plant and animal life or to proficiency in compass use and orienteering skills. The community forest is also a valuable resource for people new to the area as it allows them to be able to meet other like minded individuals within the city.

However it is that one may use the Community Forest, it seems to always bring people together, build a sense of identity for the city, and enhance moods or even overall lifestyles for many avid trail users. The general public of Cranbrook is fortunate to have access to the luxury of a maintained forest and trail system steps from many people’s homes.

The Community Forest is the heart of the city and brings life to Cranbrook as a whole.

Claustrophobia-free Cranbrook

Esther Bowden

One thing bad about living in Cranbrook is the roads. I just got my learner’s license a few days ago and let me tell you, driving on these roads is awful.

I love Cranbrook. I live for the small town mentality, knowing everyone, the unity felt here. I like skiing with my friends in the winter on some of the best powder in the world. I like even more basically living at one of our many lakes during the summer.

I think Cranbrook is one of the most beautiful places in the world because it is always changing from hot to cold, snowboard to skateboard.

For such a small town, Cranbrook has a lot of diversity. So many people are different and unique. You see this especially at the high school, how different everyone is.

Here in Cranbrook, you can be whatever or whoever you want to and I love that.

Cranbrook is an amazing place to grow up. You feel safe here and you feel free. You don’t feel the claustrophobia of city life. While my dad went back to school for a year I lived in Vancouver. For a year I missed my small town. I missed seeing the stars and mountains and breathing in the fresh country air. I longed to return and have the freedom and safety I didn’t feel in Vancouver. Coming back to Cranbrook was like coming home.

Because of Cranbrook’s limited schooling options, it’s a place where people can dream — planning to change the world, planning their future away from Cranbrook. But the plan is always to return someday. Return to the place that isn’t only “where you live.” Cranbrook is a community, a family, a home.

Cranbrook Pros And Cons: A Brazilian Comparison

By Gabriel Chung Ravanini

Cranbrook: a paradise for some, a nightmare for others.

As an international student at the city of Cranbrook, I can add my previous experience of my country to my Canadian life experience. This way, I am able to realize similarities and differences between the two countries.

For instance, I heard from some Mount Baker students “There is nothing to do at Cranbrook;” “The transportation system does not work;” “The education system is disorganized.”

I could just accept these phrases and believe that they are right, but I am going to take a deeper look and analyze them.

Actually, Cranbrook offers a high standard of living and high infrastructure levels, especially considering that it is a small town of around 20,000 inhabitants.

First, Cranbrook has the Western Financial Place, where people can watch hockey games, enjoy the swimming pool, and play squash.

Also, there are golf courses, such as the Wildstone Golf Course, the Mission Hills Golf Course, and the Cranbrook Golf Club. Other options are the soccer fields, like the Mount Baker Field, and the Moir Park fields. Parks are also common, such as Baker Park, Rotary Park, and Moir Park. Many outdoor activities as biking, camping, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding can be found at the town as well.

Compared with the town where I live in my country, which is five times bigger, Cranbrook offers a greater variety of leisure for its inhabitants, whereas my town has only swimming pools, soccer fields, and gyms.

The next step refers to the transportation system, which includes streets, signs, and roads. The streets and avenues are well organized, most of them parallel and numbered. The streets are based on the main one (Baker Street) and on coordinates (North or South) as well as the avenues.

For example, if a street is the closest to Baker Street, parallel to it and located further south, the street will be called 1st Street South. If a street is perpendicular to Baker and located further North and further West, it is called 1st Avenue North. The pattern of streets in Cranbrook and the signs on every corner are efficient because they facilitate people to move within the town.

Another aspect of the transportation system is the roads that are constantly criticized. Surprisingly, or not, the Cranbrook roads are not as bad as some people imagine. The roads are probably not the best ones, but they are still very good. Most towns of my country, including the town where I live, have unpaved dirt roads, which are much worse than the Cranbrook ones.

Also, Cranbrook has an airport, from where you can go to bigger cities. Most cities of even 200,000 (ten times the population of Cranbrook) in my country do not have an airport.

Cranbrook has a high school called Mount Baker Secondary School, where there are about 1,000 students. The school offers a large variety of courses, such as Automotive Technology, Business Education, Computer Studies, Drafting & Design, Electronics, Foods, Leadership, Metalworking, Music, Outdoor Education Programs, Theatre & Film, and Woodworking and Carpentry that are unlikely and unimaginable in a Brazilian school. Also, the Canadian students have more freedom to choose their courses, whereas in my country, students must take 12 mandatory subjects per semester. The Mount Baker teachers are more worried about the students’ performances as well.

Cranbrook, therefore, offers many activities, an efficient transportation system, and an organized education system.

I am not saying, however, that Cranbrook is the perfect town in where to live. For instance, it could offer indoor soccer facilities, videogame meetings, and concerts. In terms of roads, all the holes on the streets could be fixed.

Also, schools could have shorter classes.

Based on a comparison with another place, I am just trying to show that some people’s views are narrow-minded.

Cranbrook needs improvements, but we need to recognize that it offers a high standard of living.

Gabriel Chung Ravanini is an exchange student from Brazil.

A Walking Tour On A Sunny Day

By Cassidy Buck

A sunny day in Cranbrook is a sight to behold. Framed by majestic mountains, bordered by rich forests, and filled with charismatic people, a stroll through town beckons.

Saturday mornings the Farmers Market draws people from all corners of the city, here to browse and purchase. A colorful array of produce, jewelry, and baked goods are on display along the length of street beside Rotary Park.

Our local Emergency Services workers greet people with a smile, their reassuring presence ameliorates the morning. Continuing on towards Baker Street, the delicious aroma of coffee wafts from Max’s Place. A quick stop and a to-go cup later, the sunny stroll continues.

Up and down Baker Street, the shop owners have opened for business, trying to sell their everyday wares to the crowd drifting toward them. The door of Kootenay Roasting Company, another locally owned coffee shop, is ever revolving. More Mom and Pop’s shops down the street provide locals with organic, diverse, or just plain comfort foods.

Farther along the route, quaint little homes stand on each side of the rustic, weathered roads. Cozy, peaceful neighborhoods are nestled side by side to make up Cranbrook’s residential area.

Small herds of deer can be found grazing peacefully in a yard, lifting their heads to observe approaching citizens. Birds light on branches of large trees which are casting their shadows on the ground.

The cracked sidewalk leads to the Amy Woodland playground, where a father has brought his children to play. The youngsters all clamber over one another, racing, tumbling, and wrestling in the grass. Tire swings hang from their chains, awaiting the next child who will ride on them. A set of swings sits adjacent to them, swaying in the breeze. Twin slides rest, facing one another, off to the side, glinting in the late morning sun.

As noon approaches the thought of food is overwhelmingly mouthwatering, and it’s time to end this promenade. Home at last, the memory of the sunny morning stroll through Cranbrook echoes throughout the rest of the day.

Coming From Fernie Brings A Different Perspective

By Kyra Doehle

Being new to Cranbrook, I have a different perspective of the town.

Coming from the extremely small city of Fernie, nestled just an hour away in the Elk Valley, when people complain about how small Cranbrook is I just laugh. Not only has my graduating class gone from 36 students to over 200, there is everything here.

I can be walking through a mall or even a Walmart. Then, a short drive, and I can be whistling down a backroad, dust flying behind me, wind blowing through my hair.

Cranbrook has so many different opportunities as well. I participated in both the spring and school basketball programs and had an absolute blast. We were travelling basically every weekend and at the end of the year we went to provincials in Langley and we got 3rd.

The Rovers soccer program is also amazing. We travel all over British Columbia for tournaments and it’s a really cool experience.

Being super involved in the hockey community as well, having three whole rinks is super awesome. There could be three different games going on at once.

Cranbrook doesn’t only have a lot of sporting opportunities, but because of it’s size, the high school can offer a crazy number of courses. When I got the booklet of options for my Grade 11 year I couldn’t believe my eyes there were so many choices.

Although Cranbrook has all the assets of a big city, it has the feeling of a small town. There are so many lakes, rivers and creeks around it’s a fisherman’s heaven. There are hiking trails and quading spots everywhere. Not to mention you can bike to anywhere in the city in less then half an hour.

Cranbrook is the perfect mix of small town and big city. I can’t think of a better place to call home for the rest of my high school career.

An Environment Of Endless Possibilities

Alyssa McElhinney

When I am asked where I am from, “Cranbrook, British Columbia,” usually results in a blank look from most people. If the person asking grew up in the East Kootenay area or had family from the East Kootenay area, they may know where it is, but if not, usually the name is foreign.

“It’s in the bottom right corner of British Columbia,” is the only description that everybody understands.

Cranbrook is not known for having a lot of entertainment in the town, but for outdoor enthusiasts, the area is full of possibilities. Surrounded by trails, mountains, and lakes, Cranbrook is every outdoor athlete’s dream.

On one side of Cranbrook lies the community forest, on the other – Rails to Trails. The community forest is full of paths and wildlife, and is a great area to walk, bike, or jog. It has fifty-two main trails that are available for bikers that are labeled by difficulty.

On the other side of town near Highway 95A, Rails to Trails is a paved path that stretches from Cranbrook to Kimberley. It is filled with people biking, rollerblading, and sometimes just walking.

The community forest and Rails to Trails both offer great views, excellent serenity and many kilometres of trail.

As well as the forest, Cranbrook is surrounded by mountains. The Rocky and Purcell Mountains are full of trails for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and during the winter, there are two ski hills nearby. Many of the citizens of Cranbrook have hiked at least one of the mountains while living here, and with trails for all abilities, they are a great place to start. As well as having gorgeous views, the trails are easily accessible. With most being within an hour away, it is easier for citizens to find time to explore. For advanced rock climbers, there are areas for them to practice outside, which adds to the thrill.

The two ski hills are both within an hour from Cranbrook; Kimberley Alpine Resort is thirty minutes away, and Fernie Alpine Resort is one hour away. Kimberley is a smaller mountain, but both have great reviews relating to the number of trails and the condition of the trails, and both are excellent for spending time outdoors during the winter.

Being surrounded by lakes, Cranbrook is also an excellent area for fishing or for other water activities in the summer. Ice fishing is also available during the winter, and it is common to see people on the lakes on the cold winter weekends. During the summer, many of the lakes are the host to campgrounds, so families can spend time swimming, fishing, or relaxing. If lake fishing is not preferable, Cranbrook also has a smattering of rivers open to public access.

There are approximately ten lakes and rivers immediately surrounding the Cranbrook area, the closest boat accessible lake being Moyie, which is twenty minutes away. Jim Smith, which is just bordering the Cranbrook city limits, is another lake open to non-motor activities. Often citizens have been known to spend up to twelve hours a day fishing on some of these excellent lakes.

Many people have negative things to say about Cranbrook, but for the lovers of the outdoors, the area has plenty to explore. Surrounded by forests, mountains, and lakes, there is no end to the entertainment to be had here. Bikers, fishers, joggers, and any other outdoor enthusiasts have a great time in the areas surrounding Cranbrook.

This small town is a great place to visit if hunting down the beauty of the outdoors is one’s aim.

Comfort, Like A Security Blanket

By Paityn Calder

Cranbrook is known as an out of date, worn-out town. But after living in it for your whole life, you develop a security towards it. It becomes a comforting place, like a security blanket. It will always be here if you need a place to come back to.

Although it’s not the safest town in some parts, it’s not as dangerous as a city. You can walk downtown without fearing you’ll be jumped, and I can walk to and from school without having to worry about something happening to me.

As we continue on through the years, Cranbrook is slowly starting to become more modern — but it still keeps to its roots. We still have statues that date back to the 1920s, like the elephant one downtown. Although it’s not the most exciting or important statue, it still reminds us of the past and what Cranbrook once was.

The landscape around Cranbrook is what differentiates it from other small towns in B.C. No matter where you look in Cranbrook when you’re outside you’ll get a defined view of the mountains. If you’re an outdoorsy person, there are several things to do to keep active here. There are trails, lakes, and other outdoor activities.

The atmosphere of Cranbrook can be very small-townlike. Cranbrook is small enough to know most people, but big enough to not know every single person very well. Going out in public you’ll almost always see at least one person you know. You can get to know small shop owners, restaurant owners, and any owner downtown or around the town. We’re a tourist town so all the shops and restaurant owners are very welcoming.

As for teenagers the educational system is good for how small the town truly is.

Yes there are problems, but there are in every town and city. Just in a city they’re not as identifiable.

Cranbrook may not be perfect, but it can be a great place to tour and discover new things you never knew about the environment around you.

Cranbrook Can Keep One Busy

By Emma McGee

For me, life in Cranbrook is incredibly busy. I participate in a multitude of extracurricular activities including Mount Baker’s production of Seussical: The Musical. I am also in the Mount Baker choir and a candidate in the Sam Steele Sweethearts Program.

I don’t get a lot of free time in my life but when I do, spending it with my friends and family is the way to go. Going to the movies, hanging out at the parks, shopping at the mall, or going out into nature are just a few.

I know that I’ve got a lot on my plate but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a busy way to live and I’ve got Cranbrook to thank for that.