Samples

Pulling Up Stakes

Imagine This Valley: Essays and Stories Celebrating the Bow Valley collected by Stephen Legault, Rocky Mountain Books, 2016

The field behind my childhood home in Canmore was small as far as fields go. It stretched less than a block long and only one lot in width, but it was filled with tall grass and gnarled white-barked trembling aspen with their rattling leaves. Coyotes often gathered in this field as night fell, announcing their arrival with high-pitched howls and yips that reverberated through the house, waking me and my sister Lesley, vaulting us from a dead sleep to a full-out run to our parents’ room. We’d climb up onto my mom’s hope chest, and with the smooth wood cold beneath our feet, we’d stare out the window into the night and watch the sleek and shadowy shapes entwine in a mass of bushy tails. Some nights, the coyotes stayed for a long time, playing and calling back and forth. On other nights, the coyotes melted back into the ragged black shadows of the nearby forest just as quickly as they had arrived, their echoing calls disappearing among the trees.

Attack on hilltop town ‘bloody suicide’, Rocky Mountain Outlook

“This is bloody suicide.”
Those were the last words Major Bruce Trotter said to my grandfather, Capt. Laurence Guy Alexander, shortly before Canadian soldiers and tanks began an attack on the small village of Motta Montecorvino, located high on a ridge in south central Italy overlooking the Foggia Plains. 

Disaster at Dieppe, 'the saga of LCT No. 8', Rocky Mountain Outlook

The hydrogen tanks exploded, followed by shouts for help. Hunter and Smith went forward and found at least eight injured men and a five-foot hole in the bulwarks above the water line. Oil and gasoline burned on the deck near the remaining tank. A black plume rose above the landing craft.

Moraine Lake Highline: Grizzlies and Singletrack, Pedal Magazine

In the Canadian Rockies, protecting grizzly bears is one of the paramount goals of Parks Canada. It’s an obvious and easy choice, as the number of grizzlies in Alberta is believed to be less than 500, making the grizzly a candidate for endangered status.

Heroes in Holland, Legacy Magazine

Gijs van Veendaal sat in his folding chair next to the parade route, looking every inch the proud Canadian with his patriotic hat, pins and sweatshirt. When asked where in Canada is he from, van Veenendaal replied polietly, “I am from Holland.”

CV

Books

  • Pulling Up Stakes, an essay in Imagine This Valley, Rocky Mountain Books (2016)

  • The History of Canmore, Alberta, Summerthought Publishing, author (2010)

  • Survival in Paradise: A Century of Coal Mining in the Bow Valley, Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre (2008), editor, layout and design, sidebar writer

  • The Exshaw Cement Plant: Foundations for the Future, Lafarge Canada (2006) co-author, layout and design

  • Exshaw: Heart of the Valley, Exshaw Historical Society (2005) co-author, layout and design

Selected Magazines, Newspapers and Websites

  • Meeting Places Alberta

  • Apple Magazine, Alberta Health Services

  • Canada’s History Magazine

  • Rocky Mountain Outlook newspaper

  • Galleries West Magazine

  • Experience the Mountain Parks

  • Pedal Magazine

  • Highline Magazine

  • The Military Museums Mural of Honour website

Awards

  • First place, Best Historical Story, Canadian Community Newspaper Association (spring 2014). “Attack on hilltop town ‘bloody suicide’.” Rocky Mountain Outlook newspaper.

  • Third Place, Best Local News Story, Alberta Newspaper Association Better Newspapers Competition Award of Excellence (Spring 2011). “Life and times of a cougar named Doug,” Rocky Mountain Outlook newspaper.

  • Third Place, Best Environmental Writing, Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association Better Newspapers Competition Award of Excellence (Fall 2010). “Hike Highlights Burgess Shale Creatures,” Rocky Mountain Outlook newspaper.

  • Nominee, Community Builder – Individual, Mayor’s Awards for Arts and Culture, (2009)

  • First Place, University of Alberta Writing Award (2008).

  • Best Headline Writing, Canadian Community Newspapers Association (2006). “Sorcerer spells doom for local lad,” Rocky Mountain Outlook.