“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it” – Jules Renard –
When I left Newfoundland to search for work in Fort Mac, Alberta I had no idea what to expect. I had lived for many years in Ontario and had traveled as far west as Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, but that was the extent of it. I had much trepidation about starting over again in a place known best for its controversial oil sands. But what I found here was both heartening and surprising.
Fort McMurray is a miniature united nations. People from all parts of Canada and from around the world make their home here. They are kind-hearted, proud, and hard working. Many are raising families here. I was not alone in making a new start. I found the people very friendly, supportive, and helpful.
The city offers a wonderful selection of beautiful parks, some of which feature exercise equipment for public use. There is a shopping mall, several strip malls, and a wide selection of restaurants featuring foods from around the world. Gregoire Provincial Park is not far away and offers opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, or walking the trails. There are also hiking trails throughout the city, as well as the Clearwater River that runs through the community. One can take in the scenery along the riverbanks or lose oneself among the trees. Fort Mac is about much more than oil. It is a growing community peopled by warm and welcoming individuals. Thankfully the fire did not decimate the city, although it did leave gaping holes in it. Here are a few photos of the city residents affectionately call “Fort Mac” and the little pieces of heaven I found here.