Sometimes I sit and ponder the duties that I must follow with the title of Miss Teen St. Albert-World 2011. While volunteering, public appearances, and fundraising are all crucial elements of my reigning year, perhaps the most important aspect is the image and legacy of St. Albert that I expose viewers to on a national scale. Whenever I travel to a large city in Canada, or even the United States, people ask me where I’m from. When I proudly say “St. Albert”, they stare at me in confusion. Because of this, I’ve gotten into the habit of saying “Edmonton” instead. I want to rid St. Albertans of this terrible habit of claiming to be a citizen of a different city, and to show to the world that while St. Albert may be next to the large, renowned city of Edmonton, it in fact encompasses it’s own lifestyle that is unique to our city of approximately 60 000 people.
In many ways, I am blessed to be the title holder for St. Albert this year. While my title has already taken me to events and caused me to meet people that I never would have been introduced to otherwise, there is one aspect that I find truly endearing. 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of when the City of St. Albert was formally established. There are celebrations abound and light-hearted festivities that are attracting people from all over the province of Alberta to see what our city is so proud of.
Being an Ambassador
I spoke to Mayor Nolan Crouse a month into my reigning year about my sentiments in regards to my journey thus far. He asked me why I was so ecstatic to be given the title of Miss Teen St. Albert-World, and I told him the following,
“While I may be going to Toronto for the national pageant this summer as a delegate from Alberta, more importantly, I am a proud citizen of St. Albert. I will be the face of St. Albert, the introduction to St. Albert, and ultimately, the legacy of St. Albert. Every action and reaction that I have whilst wearing this crown and sash will reflect not only my personality, but the pride that I hold in the City of St. Albert as a whole. In the least, it will make me more aware of how my endeavours and attitude about them gives insight into my entire being. Hopefully though, I can do so much more than that. When Canadian athletes go to the Olympic games, they become roving ambassadors for the country as a whole. I am ready to take on this role for all of St. Albert. I want to be this ambassador.”
I really wanted to capture the distinctive elements of St. Albert, where if you saw these pictures, the first thing that you would think of is my beautiful city. My first stop was the infamous clock tower. From almost anywhere in the city, you can see this magnificent piece of infrastructure. The clock tower resides in Downtown St. Albert, and serves as a landmark and meeting place for groups. Next to the clock towere is one of the many stunning murals that are present around the city. The most notable figure present in this mural is the face of Lois Hole in the years just prior to her death. Among all of the hockey and sports stars that have risen out of St. Albert, Lois Hole is often recognized as the most inspirational leader that emerge from our city. Not only was she our famous “green thumb”, but she was also a shining example of a women who persevered through medical debilitations in order to advocate for the rights and dignity of women.
While the core of St. Albert may be small, the dowtown street of Perron is full of bright brickwork for the local shops and housing units in the area. This street has gone under some drastic revitalization during the last decade in order to spruce up the aesthetic appeal of the city.
This is the home of many of our events and activities, so it receives ample amounts of media attention.
When I think back to my childhood, I think of the St. Albert Public Library. Every summer, I would participate in the summer reading program, and would read upwards of 150 novels each summer. Not only did the library serve as an educational tool, but it was also in this area that I would participate in the International Children’s Festival every year. This festival brings performers from around the world to teach children about accepting various cultures, embracing the Native identities present in their homeland, and exposes them to the roots of scientific exploration. In other words, the kids watch plays and performances that expose them to a hands-on learning experience without even realizing it.
Another intriguing aspect of the St. Albert Public Library is the structural intricacy of it. From an aerial view, one can see that the building curves and twists, making it distinctly different from any other building in the city. The architects of the building did this with one thought in mind: the meandering Sturgeon River which divides St. Albert and eventually reaches out into the North Saskatchewan River.
I truly admire the brick-work present on Perron Street. It reminds me of the historical suites present in the French Quarter of New Orleans – classy, elegant, yet full of life. On the day that I took these pictures, there were thunderstorms and dark skies, but these buildings still made the images vibrant. Perhaps this speaks volumes of the true spirit of St. Albert as well; the ability of the people to persevere and let their spirits shine through even the dreariest of times. We are a city that sticks together.
Here are a few more of my favorite areas around town that I thought I would share with you!
I would also like to thank Sam Elias from Remax Realty for being a partial sponsor for my participation in the national sponsorship. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!