Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

MacDonald Island Park's Twelve Greatest Moments of 2012 - And My Special Moments There

I ran across this lovely little video the other day. It just popped up on my Facebook timeline, and I had to sit and watch it because it is a chronicle of a place I consider a second home in this community. I watched it, transfixed, because as it played before me I realized I had been present for a good many of these moments, and those I had missed I could recall hearing about (and I recalled why I missed them, too, proving my memory may be better than I thought). The video is about the top twelve moments of 2012 at one of my favourite places in Fort McMurray - MacDonald Island Park.

I wasn't at the hockey game that starts the video because I was out of town that day. I was there to see Rex Murphy - and that episode of Cross Country Check Up represents one of the very first times I spoke publicly about this community (and I remember how my knees shook the entire time, too). I was at the Twin 63 Now Rally, of course, and once again I had the honour of speaking, this time directly to a community I feel so very passionately about. I was sick the weekend of the road hockey tournament, and so I missed that excitement, but I was there shortly after Yogen Fruz opened (with a spoon at the ready). I was there to ooh and aah at the Canada Day fireworks, as I volunteered with Events Wood Buffalo that weekend, and it was three days of glorious fun, and exhaustingly hard work.

I didn't see Tom Cochrane because I was on holiday in Yoho National Park on that day, and I was deeply torn because I so wanted to hear him sing "Life Is A Highway". I was there, however, to see Hedley, two Intrepid Junior Bloggers in tow, and I recall their excitement when they got to meet the band (and, well, I was pretty darn pleased, too). One of those Junior Bloggers has now gone home to her mother, as she was only on loan to me for one year, and that concert was one of her final experiences in Fort Mac. The joy of being able to give her that gift still makes me a bit tearful.

I was there when Mayor Melissa Blake used an enormous shovel - a REALLY enormous shovel - to break ground on the new expansion at MacDonald Island Park. I don't quite know how to put into words what that groundbreaking meant to me, as you see Mac Island asked me - ME! - to speak to RMWB council on behalf of some of the stakeholders in the expansion, and to explain why it was so strongly supported by them. That was an honour I will never forget, and so the memory of the  groundbreaking ceremony makes me a bit weepy, too.

I was honoured once again to be a guest at the annual "State of the Island" gala, where I heard COO Tim Reid explain the significance of the letter "U" - and about how MacDonald Island is all about you, the residents of this community. I was there for the ribbon cutting at the opening of the newly expanded Total Fitness Centre, a place which has recently seen far too little of me (which explains why there is slightly more of me being carried on my thighs) but that will start to see much more of me on the treadmill very soon. And finally I was there just days ago, on New Year's Eve, to celebrate The Craze, and marvel at the incredible turnout, hundreds of people lining the halls and arenas. As I said on Twitter that day I think there were only about three people in Fort McMurray who weren't there that day, because I ran into dozens of people I know.

So I stop now and count, and discover that of those top moments I was there for nine out of the twelve, nine unforgettable moments in Mac Island history - and in my life. You see, though, I have many, many more moments there in 2012. Dozens of moments, and more likely hundreds of them, moments spent there with family and friends. Moments that made me cry, and moments that made me laugh. Moments that may not have made the top twelve video, but that will replay in my mind forever, moments with the Intrepid Junior Bloggers and moments with musicians and moments with Mac Island staff and moments with Events Wood Buffalo staff and moments with a film crew of students from Calgary and moments when I was simply alone and on an elliptical machine, thinking, as I so often do, about this community.

And I suppose that is why this video made me smile - and shed a tear, too.You see to me MacDonald Island Park is a micro-community within our larger community, one to which I feel deeply connected, and one which is deeply bound to our entire region. So I share this video with you in the hope that perhaps you were there for some of these top twelve moments of 2012 - and believing that even if you did not see any of these moments that they will inspire you to remember your own moments spent at MacDonald Island Park - the heart of our community. I know it brought memories flooding back to me, and they are moments I will truly never, ever forget.

MacDonald Island Park
The Twelve Greatest Moments of 2012

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