Next year, in May 2020 it will complete 15 years that I moved to Canada, more precisely to Alberta. Alberta was the province we chose back in Brazil, not knowing this new country we were about to call home. But Alberta had the mountains and, for climbers, that was all that matters!
We first moved to Calgary and lived there for two years and seven months. Our son was born there. When he was only 8 months old, we moved to Banff and stayed there for 14 months, moving to Canmore after that. So, it’s been 12 years, almost all Ian’s life, that we live in the Bow Valley.
Ricardo passed away in Canmore. Our first house ever was bought in Canmore. Canmore is where Ian spent his childhood and I started calling Canada home. Many many friends were made, stories were created here. We hiked, we climbed, we skied and we biked those trails.
Ian had access to numerous world class programs, like the Mountain Freeriders at Sunshine and the All Mountain Program with RMCC. He learned to swim (very very well, I should add!) with Riptides, at Elevation Place. And he spent time with the amazing artist Barb Fyvie at her studio, learning about art and exercising his creativity.
But life evolves, we change and our interests change as well. RMCC AMP Program took us to Panorama Bike Park and in only one summer, Ian and I fell completely in love with downhill biking. To the point that Ian decided to dedicate time and effort to the sport, with a coach, training sessions and a bike park closer to home.
A brief Google search let us know that we had to move to BC – a province that has my heart since I first visited it, even before I moved to Canada. A top priority list gave us only two options: Whistler or Vernon. Whistler is bigger, way more expensive (than even Canmore!) and has more visitors than Vernon – or Silverstar, the bike park close to Vernon.
Silverstar Bike Park was created 25 years ago, it is very well established, is home to a few world class downhill bikers, and still offers a decent real estate price. Vernon is the closest city, with 42,000 people, three beautiful lakes around it, longer Spring and Summer, and it is located on the north part of the Okanagan, an incredible area in BC that I, for some reason, was overlooking when thinking about the province.
A three-day trip in September confirmed that we could easily live there. The mountain biking trails are fun, the vistas are gorgeous and very different than Canmore, and the city has this laid back feeling to it that both Ian and I enjoyed. From there to pack our home, send most of our things to a storage and put our house on the market was only a month. An intense month of packing, purging, and cleaning but it is done!
Now, on the more serious side: the French immersion program is great AND… UBC Kelowna campus is only 40 min drive away. Yes, because my son is getting ready for university in less than six years, so this was an important ‘detail’ in our choice, as it was the fact that Kelowna has an airport.
Canmore was the perfect place for Ian’s childhood. And Vernon is looking like the perfect place for Ian’s teenage and young adult years…