From the moment we rolled into Chilliwack, I started to feel at home.
Our beautiful Eastern Fraser Valley city has farm fields, military heritage and European customs but a proud Canadian vibe. Chilliwack has a laid-back approach to life, just far enough away from the big city to relax and enjoy hiking by the mountains and salmon-filled glacial rivers.
Also evident is its respect for history yet passion for building the future, visible at the myriad construction sites and at this week’s tech forum.
As the new editor of The Chilliwack Progress, B.C.’s oldest continuously published newspaper (which – incredibly – first rolled off the press 128 years ago), I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a deeply talented team of journalists to bring you news 24/7 at theprogress.com and via social media, plus print newspapers delivered twice a week. We aim to tell your stories, and that will always be our focus, but this week, I have been asked to share my story with you.
The reason I felt instantly at home here, walking our dog on the Vedder River Rotary Trail by the Garrison neighbourhood, is that the military was my home, as the daughter of a Canadian fighter pilot. When I am asked where I’m from, the answer, almost literally, is everywhere. We travelled the world as a family to Texas, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Germany, the place where we spent the longest. Since then, I have visited 30 countries on five continents, many of them during an around-the-world bicycling tour.
In early years, the military was my home, and the bases where we lived were often in rural areas like Chilliwack, where farmers work dawn to dusk during harvest season and residents enjoy fresh produce. The military tradition in our family continues: My brother serves in the army as a colonel in a diplomatic role in Europe, and just this year, my eldest daughter joined the infantry as an officer and is currently rucking with a heavy rifle in New Brunswick. (My other daughter, a biologist, works with sea lions in B.C.)
But journalism had always been my passion, so I choose a different life as an editor for the chance to share interesting stories and tell you what’s happening in your community. My career as a journalist has taken me to newsrooms in Ottawa, Brockville, and, five years ago, to Squamish, B.C. I also founded a newspaper still published in rural Eastern Ontario.
Moving for me has always been exciting. But Chilliwack feels like home, and I’m excited to be here. I was thrilled to have a tour of the community on my first day with former editor Greg Knill, who explained that Chilliwack’s parts are many and varied, from the Eastern Hillsides and Rosedale to the farms of Greendale to Sardis, Promontory and the busy downtown.
At The Progress, we’re fortunate to have a staff of strong reporters who have called Chilliwack home for more than a decade, who have won countless awards capturing the kind of stories and images that sparkle in the busy world of online information.
Like Chilliwack itself, the news team embraces the future, posting their stories, updates, photos and videos on social media and on our busy website around the clock so you know what’s happening in your community. And we want to hear your interesting stories and see your latest scenic photos of the region, so please email me your ideas and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the lively conversations on theprogress.com website, on Facebook @chilliwackprogress, on Twitter @theprogress and on Instagram @chilliwack_progress.
Or just stop me to say hello the next time you’re on the trails. You’ll know me by the giant black Newfoundland dog drooling as she walks beside us. I look forward to meeting you.