Alternate life – Without the Alberta Oilsands

Without the Oil Sands…

Logan and I got talking about the oil sands today. I find it hard to criticize them since as someone living in this province and not being from here… I owe them everything. Literally everything.

My family moved out here for the boom, back in 1999. As a new tradesman who just took his Pre apprenticeship my step Dad had made the choice a long time ago, he convinced my Mom and that was that. But if the Alberta boom hadn’t called us out, where would we be? Most likely we would have remained on the Island, moving from our small town to a larger one where my Mom could get better work with her own Pre apprenticeship. Since they met before Cow Town, they would still be together, Step Dad working as an electrician and my Mom would have probably had to go with her own plumbing education. (I still don’t know WHY she picked that of all things. Maybe on sign up day it was the only course left…)

Never moving to Cow Town in the first place I would have never moved back, and without the boom’s ripple effect of needing service workers it never would have called me out. Realistically I would have continued to work where I was working, a tiny Tim Horton’s an hour out of town up Island and dating the … Person I was at the time. Cow town was not only my stepping stone for a career, it was my get out of jail free card. I was going down the wrong path on the Island, to say the least. Without many details I was 18, young and dumb drinking, enjoying myself and not doing anything with my life.

Maybe I would have gotten my act together, gone to what was known as Malasapina Collage and is now… Something else. Or continued my course at The Vancouver Art Institute for the culinary arts, which would have given me a decent accreditation to start working in what I call “real” restaurants. Not fast food or casual dining but fancy pants sit down dinners. Living in Vancouver for my education I would have applied at the Vancouver Club, the most prestigious place in town. If I wasn’t hired there, I would have applied at different places in Whistler, Tofino, Naniamo, at the local five star resort on the beach The Kingfisher, everywhere and anywhere. Being the head chef at one point for The Kingfisher would have been fairly okay. It would have probably been attainable after years of hard work and dedication without the certification… So in this dream world The Vancouver Club would have been my start. I remember going there once with my Aunt and her fiancĂ©, him telling us only last year women had been allowed in the building. It was a men’s club for the who’s who of Vancouver. You had to pay something like $10,000 a month at the club to maintain membership and I simply remember being in awe. My Aunt said “give it ten years… She’ll be the President of this place”

I’ll never forget that. I so badly wanted to prove her right.

Logan’s family would have still been here. His roots don’t dip into the oil sands, rather the military kept his roots anchored here in town. He wouldn’t have the job he has now, but would have still had a good one with a solid education to fall back on… If he ever wanted to.

We never would have met, so we never would have had The Padawan. To be perfectly honest my vision of getting my act together wouldn’t have happened, but it’s a little depressing to think of where I would be, not just because I wouldn’t have my soul mates, my husband and baby.


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