Hello, Diamond Valley! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone so far. The snow has largely melted, and we are in that phase where we have something akin to a false spring. The tulip bulbs pop their little heads up, buds form on bushes and trees, and the birds are singing their little hearts out. The die hard campers excitedly head out for the May long weekend camping trip. Then Mother Nature generally dumps a whole lot of snow on the works. But spring officially arrived on March 20 and we will take what we can get.
I took a drive out to Archie and Janet Hogg Campground around the middle of March as I had not been there since the last flood. The campsites right on the river were washed away but it still looks like a great place to camp. A couple of Canada geese were honking and splashing in the bit of open river and the only other sound was that of a lone cow mooing. Most campgrounds are opening in May, with a few such as Three Sisters opening April 13. Fishing season opens April 1. I see in Black Diamond there is a new fishing/camping/bike/skate shop that opened in the new building on Government Road, across from the Hotel. Nice to see new businesses in town. I also heard the bakery may be going into the old Black Diamond post office, as there is a lot of talk how much we miss our bakery.
In Turner Valley, the Library is open again, yay! And at the old post office a new cannabis business has made its home there. It looks like Planet Auto put up new signage, it looks really nice. Or maybe they did that a while ago but I just noticed. The Planet has never done me wrong all these years and it is nice to have such a family owned and operated business in town. It does look like we are getting back to a bit of normal after such a crazy year, so we all deserve a pat on the back, and the nice spring weather certainly helps put us in a better mood.
What else is happening in Turner Valley? The Legion is still accepting vendors for their Farmer’s Market which will be opening June 5. And we will remember The Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, which was the most significant battle of WW1. It was fought April 9-14, 1917, along a long narrow ridge in France that both the British and French valiantly tried and failed to take from the Germans. The Canadians Corps tried with the commandment of Lt. Col Sir H.G. Bing. They rehearsed and had the support of nearly 1000 artillery pieces and finally swept the Germans from the Ridge on April 9, 1917. It was not done without the severe cost of 3598 killed and thousands more injured. This sweep ultimately defused any notion of the Germans control of Europe and led to the Armistice of November 11, 1918. The event brought about ultimate Canadian pride, honour, and respect to the Canadian Military. This information was taught to me years ago by Gordon Day, who had a great respect for the Battle and fought for the recognition of it. Here’s to you, Gordon.
Up the road a bit, the Sheep Creek Arts Council in Turner Valley offers tons of different classes, some online and some in-person, depending on restrictions. The in-person classes may open end of March, so check them out at sheepcreekarts.ca for details. They are also hoping to recruit new members to sit on the Board of Directors or to join one of their Board Committees, any takers? Sheep Creek Arts Council has its beginnings in 1958 when Archie Key, director of the Calgary Allied Arts Council, suggested a similar council to promote interest in the arts. The interest was already there and before long painting and arts classes were being taught, using the local schools, and soon it became apparent that a building was needed. The Turner Valley Skating Rink Committee had purchased the Calmont Cook House and moved it onto Main Street to be used as dressing rooms for the new rink. They were not using the front half of the building so in 1959 SCAC moved their operations there. The building was also used for 4-H clubs and Provincial Court, as well as the Turner Valley School hosting their annual Ice Carnival. When the Flare ‘n Derrick replaced the old rink accommodations, the council formed alliances with the newly formed Valley Neighbors Club, and today they share their building on Sunset Boulevard.
Down the road a ways from the Valley, the Leighton Centre invites you to the virtual launch of two new Alberta created exhibitions, as they await the opportunity for in-person visits. As with anything nowadays, call or Google first as restrictions lift, as they may now be allowed too pen. It is on my bucket list to visit this historical art gallery, museum, and art education centre located on 80 beautiful acres between Turner and Millarville. “Of a Certain Age” is the first exhibit by artists Cindy Bouwers and Jean Pederson, who are two women of a certain age and are richer, deeper, and more complex because of this, and it shows in their work. The second exhibit is “Coexistence” by artist Terra Simieritsch. In this exhibit you see different species in a different light as we intermingle with wildlife and reflect on stereotypes of “good” and “bad” wildlife species and how they are necessary to our ecosystem. Both exhibits run until April 17, for more info, visit leightoncentre.org.
Gardening season is approaching as well. Diamond Valley Community Garden offers 20” raised 16’ by 4’ beds for rent, at $60 per year. The rental includes use of water, tools, and much more. Interested gardeners should contact Jane Toews at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Valley Neighbors Garden Club in Turner Valley should be set to get their hands in the dirt soon, as well as the Foothills Horticultural Club, with speaker Mike Dorion educating about composting and soil enrichment on April 14. This club also sponsors a scholarship for students in the Foothills who are enrolled in horticultural related classes. For info on this scholarship, please write Carol at email@example.com. Millarville also has a Horticultural Club which usually meets the second Tuesday of the month. Whether you are a novice or expert, these clubs are only $15 a year to join, for more information, check them out on Facebook, and happy gardening!
The Transfer Station will be open four days a week starting April 15, until November 15. Here is where you can take your compost materials such as grass clippings, leaves, branches, etc. and the towns will use them for compost around planted trees and the like. They also accept additional household garbage if you are busy cleaning up, you will need a tag from the town office first, though. So nice to have this service instead of going to the Landfill. Although I don’t mind the back road to the Landfill, us townies call it the Elk Farm Road, it is a nice little drive and you can check out the farms and acreages along the way. I’m not even sure what the actual name of that road is, but this is how we give directions. Turn left at Bob and Mary’s house, go past that house where we used to get popcorn balls and candy apples at Halloween as kids, then head out past that acreage with the rusty combine out front and turn right at the crooked tree. These kind of directions, when given at the local watering hole, generally end up in discussions as to what Bob and Mary’s kids are up to now and how the cattle are doing on the rusty combine farm.
After tending to the garden and yard, lace up the shoes, or tune up your bike or scooter and join the Foothills Country Hospice for the annual Hike for Hospice. It is virtual this year. What does that mean? It means you can register online and then on May 2, walk, run, scooter, or bike a 5km route in your neighborhood, your favorite trail, or at home on your treadmill. The first 300 registrants will receive a free T-shirt and race bib. The goal this year is to raise $50K and the date is in line with National Hospice Palliative Care Week. I can’t think of a better way to get 5km of exercise in, so to register and to find out more, go to countryhospice.org.
Black Diamond has a Shuttle Service available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In partnership with the Town of Black Diamond and the Foothills Boys and Girls Club, the fully accessible wheelchair lift van can be booked ahead or on the same day, and groups and individuals can charter the shuttle outside the times and destinations usually driven by the shuttle. One-way fare within Black Diamond or Turner Valley is only $3, Okotoks is $7, on a credit/debit payment system, and kids 5 and under are free. You must wear a mask while on board, and they operate with a shared ride system where feasible. The Shuttle was officially launched on February 18 and it will be nice to have something like this for those who don’t drive. To find out more or to book your ride, call 403.861.2081. And I must give thanks to the many years Don’s Taxi shuttled us around at most anytime of the day or night, always so pleasant to talk to, Don, enjoy your retirement, you have earned it!
It’s tax time again and the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is a free service to residents who have a simple tax situation and modest income. Qualified residents of Black Diamond can drop off their T-slips when they come to the Town Office to fill out and sign the required forms. Residents can check their eligibility at town.blackdiamond.ab.ca or call Suzan at 403-933-4348 or email her at SuzanN@town.blackdiamond.ab.ca for additional information. The Program is run by qualified volunteers, and for that, we thank them!
If you have anything happening for your not for profit organization for next month’s issue, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for this issue is April 15.
Happy Easter, and Happy Spring!