Travel north from 118 Avenue on 75 Street and you will come across the Elmwood Park Community League. Situated by the Trans-Canada Highway to the north and surrounded by parkland, it’s an easy building to overlook. As league president Melanie Spitzer said, “we’re so tucked in, even the community hall is tucked into a corner of the community.”
Despite the location, league board members are making a difference in their community. “At our last few events, the awareness and participation has gone up,” said Spitzer, whose quiet enthusiasm for her task as president is obvious.
The Secretaries are having brunch in Amy van Keeken’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, before rehearsal. Happy dogs lie at their feet. It’s a cozy domestic scene, but don’t be mistaken—this band isn’t made up of shrinking violets.
Colleen Brown, Natasha Fryzuk and Amy van Keeken work hard for the money (so hard for it, honey).
“We just wanted to jam,” said guitarist van Keeken. Six people showed up at their first session, but by the second, the band was distilled to its core members.
Nine years ago, Parkdale resident Marissa Ponich didn’t know much about sabres, a cavalry weapon used on horseback long ago.
Andrew Rusheleau, Ponich’s then-boyfriend (now husband) introduced her to sabre fencing when she was attending the University of Alberta. She came to love the sport under the guidance of coach Sergei Kazimirski, founder of Sergei’s Sabre Club.
Today she’s one of the top women’s sabre fencers in Canada.
St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is a quiet oasis of kindness and caring. An integral part of the church is Father Frank Stempfle, who has been a priest for over 60 years.
Stempfle was born in 1926 and lived on a farm near Strome, Alberta. He later resided in Primate, Saskatchewan, before returning to Alberta to live on a farm near Hayter.
He was inspired to enter the clergy by the priests he came into contact with as a boy and young man. “We had a very fine parish priest when I was growing up,” said Stempfle. Later on, he attended St. Anthony’s College in Edmonton where he was influenced by the Franciscan priests who ran the school. He spent seven years at St. Joseph Seminary and was ordained in 1952 by Archbishop John Hugh MacDonald.