Monday, 30 November 2015

Westwood Winter Magic Open House

Westwood Winter Magic Open House 
Wednesday, December 2nd from 7:00-9:30pm  

Westwood Performing and Visual Arts students present: 
Dance, Drama & Improv, Art & photography, Band, Guitar, Piano and Vocal performances.

Admission Free: Cash donations are welcome towards various performing arts programs, Food Bank items, or winter clothing for the Centre of Hope.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Community Photo Archive

The Wood Buffalo Regional Library is currently showcasing a collection of McMurray Metis photos and videos as part of a Community Photo Archive. The photos are on display on the 2nd floor of the Library until January 5, 2016.

The Library interviewed 14 residents, including honoured Elders, and gathered hundreds of photos and many hours of video footage for the project.

Everyone is encouraged to take a look, explore our Region’s history and learn more about the Metis!

Photo courtesy of the Wood Buffalo Regional Library

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Fuse Social Announces New Chief Social Entrepreneur

During the last six months, significant restructuring has transpired within FuseSocial, a backbone organization supporting the social profit sector of Wood Buffalo. Recognizing the need for strong and consistent leadership, the Board is pleased to announce Bonnah Carey to assume the Chief Social Entrepreneur role for the next year.

Effective today, Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 the FuseSocial Board would like to officially announce the current model will continue with previous board members, Bonnah Carey and Bryan Jackson as leaders of this organization until January 2017.  This will provide stability and growth for all staff members and allow FuseSocial to continue to effectively serve the social profit sector.

“We are happy to announce this appointment,” reported Jeannette Bancarz, FuseSocial Board Chair. “Bonnah will continue to bring creativity to the organization’s programs and her deep sense of commitment to our region’s social profit sector.  She has served social profits at all program, fundraising, executive and leadership levels, and has an amazing breadth of experience in the sector.”

“I look forward to continuing to serve Wood Buffalo social profit organizations in this new capacity,” remarks Bonnah. “FuseSocial plays a significant role in supporting and developing social profit organizations’ contribution to this region’s quality of life.”

FuseSocial exists to enhance the capacity of individual Wood Buffalo social profit organizations; to create collective influence for better sector representation and; to encourage and facilitate the development of community volunteers and leaders. To learn more information about this organization, please visit the website at

For more information please contact Jacqueline Doleman, Volunteer Capacity & Communications Associate, 780-791-9333,

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Three Great Events to Ring in the Holiday Season.

Get ready for three great events to ring in the holiday season. Join us this December for Santa Claus Parade and Lights of Christmas, presented by Country 93.3. Come down to the Elves’ Workshop at the Wood Buffalo Regional Library, our community partner.

We’ll be having ourselves a Holly, Jolly Christmas this year.

Elves’ Workshop

Presented by the Wood Buffalo Regional Library, kids can become an honorary Santa’s elf by visiting different activity stations. Receive an elf certificate after completing your elf passport and be entered to win a gift basket. Activity stations will include, games, Spin the Elf, Elf Plinko, Elf Match Up, Elf Booger, Reading with Santa, Elf on the Shelf Search, cookie decorating, hot chocolate and crafts. Other elements available are face painting and two performances of Yuletide Yeti presented by Odd-Lot Puppetry Co. at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (limited space for each show).

Location: Wood Buffalo Public Library (MacDonald Island Park, 1 C.A. Knight Way, Fort McMurray) 

Time: Noon to 4:30 p.m.

Find out more about the Elves' Workshop at

Lights of Christmas

This year we’re starting a new holiday tradition as we host Lights of Christmas in Jubilee Plaza.

The Lights of Christmas event officially kicks off the holiday season with a family bonfire, hot chocolate, caroling, ice skating (weather permitting) and a visit from the Mayor and Santa. 

This is an opportunity to gather prior to the Santa Claus Parade and celebrate the holiday season.

Location: Jubilee Plaza (9909 Franklin Ave., Fort McMurray) 

Time: 5 p.m.

Santa Claus Parade

Watch Santa and his helpers as they float through downtown Fort McMurray for this annual Christmas tradition. The theme of this year’s parade is Holly Jolly Christmas.

Location: Franklin Avenue (from Prairie Loop Boulevard to Riedel Street).

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Follow us on Social Media
Twitter: @RMWoodBuffalo   Facebook: RMWB

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Apply NOW for the Multicultural Expo!

The Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo is looking for local cultural groups to get involved in their annual Multicultural EXPO in February 2016. This is your chance to show the community glimpses of the beauty and magic of your culture and a chance to showcase all that is unique and special about your home country.

About the Multicultural Expo: The Multicultural EXPO-2016 hopes to bring together all diverse cultural groups in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Last year they had over 26 cultures represented and around 2600 attendees at the event. The EXPO features traditions, customs, artifacts, dress, food, and dances from all over the world. The event not only brings the Wood Buffalo community together but aims to break down barriers between cultural groups and enhance cross-cultural awareness, understanding, and appreciation.

What you can do at the Multicultural EXPO:
  • Sell cultural dishes for all to enjoy (Apply for Temporary Food Vendor Permit)
  • Sell handicrafts inspired by your culture (Apply for Daily Licence)
  • Educate the public about different aspects of your culture (ie. traditions, festivals, beliefs, customs, dress, artifacts, dances, etc.)
  • Reach out to newcomers
  • Spread the word about your cultural group or organization
An ambassador for each cultural group will serve as the sole representative for their cultural group liaising between their group and the Multicultural Association.

Ambassador Responsibilities:
  • Serve as the liaison between the cultural group and the Multicultural Association
  • Attend committee meetings prior to the EXPO (about 3 short meetings will be scheduled)
  • Keep the Multicultural Association updated on the progress and any changes within the group
  • Organize the booth for your cultural group to be displayed at the EXPO (find people to provide artifacts, traditional costumes, and info)
  • Get commitment from the group for organizing a food stall or handicraft stall

Apply Now!
  • To apply to be an Ambassador and book your booths or for more details please email the Multicultural Association at or call 780-791-5186.


  • November 30, 2015 - Information Session at the MCA Board Room at 6:00pm
  • December 11, 2015 - All Applications must be submitted before the end of the day
  • Application for the Temporary Food Vendor Permit must be filled out and sent to before end of December 11, 2015
  • Application for Daily Market License must be submitted to:

Mailing Address: 9909 Franklin Avenue, Fort McMurray AB T9H 2K4
Business Licensing Office Location: 309 Powder Drive, Fort McMurray AB
     T 780-799-8695 F 780-743-7874
  • A copy of the Daily Market License Application must be sent to before end of December 11, 2015 
The Multicultural Association is looking forward to working with you to make this year’s Multicultural EXPO a huge success!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Centre of Hope Needs YOUR Help!

The Centre of Hope Fort McMurray needs your help! They are in dire need of coffee sponsors to supply coffee grounds, creamer, sugar, iced tea mix, Styrofoam cups and bowls.  For more information on how you can help please visit or call (780) 743-3912.  

The Centre of Hope, a daytime drop-in centre for those experiencing homelessness located in downtown Fort McMurray, assists the homeless in moving forward toward self-sufficiency. Their vision is to address homelessness by inspiring hope and encouraging change through love, kindness and acceptance. The Centre of Hope team passionately strive every day to bring about change in the lives of every patron who enter their doors. Meeting people where they are at while respecting their inherit dignity and worth. Welcoming every person as if they were family creating an environment where all patrons feel no judgment, no shame, and cared for unconditionally. 

If you would like to get involved and help The Centre of Hope in achieving their mission please visit or call (780) 743-3912.  

Monday, 16 November 2015

Night Witches Previews This Wednesday

Night Witches, a collectively created play by Cheepiyak Theatre previews this Wednesday at Westwood Community High School Theatre. Directed by Terri Mort and co-directed by Michelle Thorne, starring twenty four Westwood high school actors, the play is based on the famous world war II Soviet women’s 488 Night Bomber Regiment. Nachthexen as the Germans called them were; female pilots, navigators and mechanics who flew small PO-2 biplanes or obsolete Yak planes that called for specific strategies to overthrow enemy occupied territory. The perspective is from both male and female pilots and show moments of their; recruitment, training and tragedies. Moments in the play include the love relationships between the male and female pilots, flight strategies, weather conditions and other surprising facts that contributed to the story of these amazing very young pilots.
Community Strategies coordinator Michael Beamish recently sat down with Terri Mort and discussed the challenges and triumphs of creating this unique piece of theatre.

Michael Beamish (MB): How long have you been teaching theatre in Wood Buffalo?

Terri Mort (TM): I have been teaching with FMPSD for eighteen years. Eleven at Westwood and prior to that at Greely Road School where I did extracurricular drama projects.

MB: Why did you choose to create a piece on the Night Witches?

TM: I wanted to create a piece of theatre that focused on the perspective of youth and war. Through many overwhelming moments and research, I stumbled across an articles about the young female night bombers of World War II USSR. I was really excited when I learned about these courageous and talented women. I ordered books & shared with the cast and crew and we learned that they were not only war heroes but also had incredible personal stories.
MB: How many students star in the show?

TM: This is an ensemble show with twenty five stars-fourteen girls and nine boys.

MB: How did you and your students create the show?

TM: Actors were assigned characters and researched the lives of those people -whether a German officer or a specific historic figure such as Major Marina Raskova .Students also researched information such as soldiers’ ranks, duties, professional background and personal stories. We workshopped various scenes to create stage moments -keeping moments we liked. In addition students wrote their own monologues, short scenes and eventually formed everything into one script.

MB: Have your actors been affected by the material of the show?

TM: I believe our actors knowledge on Operation Barbarossa, technical understanding of aircrafts and challenges that the USSR went through in World War II is evident. Each cast and crew member would also be able to give you their own anecdotes in addition.

MB: What were some of the challenges you had in creating this play?

TM: Some of our challenges included: working originally without a script, building scenes and refining to make stage worthy moments along with dropping some of the stories that also inspired us. Local actor and Arts Council employee, Michelle Thorne has worked as co-director providing professional guidance and creativity.

MB: What are the awards and challenges in working with young actors?

TM: We are blessed to have so much talent at Westwood. Students created stage roles and dramaturged the world of the play. They created choreography, combat scenes, costume construction, sound design and made efforts to learn Russian dialects. This play showcases a huge range of skill and ability. 

Challenges for many were starting a show without a script. Actors didn’t understand at first what their role was in the story or the vignettes and who we were going to threat it all together. This was equally challenging for a technical team without a script for the longest time. However the actors kept searching deep into their characters, coming up with their own ideas for scenes that are woven into our final collection

MB: What have you learned from the show?
TM: I’ve learned that theatre isn’t always about ordering a script online from a publishing company. Original material can be created from a mass of intelligent and creative young minds who make brave choices  all for the love of  theatre.

MB: Why should audience come see Night Witches?

TM: Night Witches is one of the greatest war stories never told. Audiences will be moved by the story of these young pilots. In addition audiences will hopefully make connections with their own family heritage and stories of war -whether through accounts from those who served overseas in recent war zones or from those who served in World War II.

Do not miss this unique, original play! Night Witches has a few scenes with suggested violence and occasional language and is recommended for audiences aged 12 and up. The show runs from November 18-21, tickets can be purchased at the Westwood office or one hour before show time at the Cheepiyak Theatre office, $15 adults & $10 students & seniors, $5 for preview night. For more information please contact: Terri.Mort or 780-791-1986 Ext. 178

Friday, 13 November 2015

Full Moon Cafe This Saturday

Come and enjoy a relaxing evening of music, poetry and art at The Full Moon Café, this Saturday, 7:30pm, at the Waterways Community Hall. The Full Moon Café is a cozy monthly coffee house. Musicians, writers, artists are welcome to share their talents, whether new or experienced. Come enjoy a wonderful evening out! $5, all ages welcome.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Do Not Miss Night Witches! A Unique Theatre Experience

Night Witches, a Cheepiyak Theatre production directed by Terri Mort and co-directed by Michelle Thorne is about to hit the skies at Westwood Community High School Theatre, November 18th (preview night) to November 21st.

Night Witches is a historic collective drama based on the famous World War II Soviet women’s night bomber regiment who flew in wood (plywood)-and-canvas Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, which were intended for use as a training aircraft and for crop-dusting. Although the aircraft was obsolete and slow, the pilots made daring use of their exceptional maneuverability; they had the advantage of having a maximum speed that was lower than the stall speed of both the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and as a result, German pilots found them very difficult to shoot down. The planes could carry only six bombs at a time, so multiple missions per night were necessary. An attack technique of the night bombers was to idle the engine near the target and glide to the bomb release point, with only wind noise left to reveal their location. German soldiers likened the sound to broomsticks and named the pilots Nachthexen (Night Witches). Due to the weight of the bombs and the low altitude of flight, the pilots carried no parachutes making the missions ever more daring. The regiment flew harassment bombing and precision bombing missions against the German military from 1942 until the end of the war. At its largest, it had 40 two-person crews. It flew over 23,000 sorties and is said to have dropped 3,000 tons of bombs. It was the most highly decorated female unit in the Soviet Air Force, each pilot having flown over 800 missions by the end of the war and twenty-three having been awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Thirty of its members died in combat.

The play, Night Witches, captures this amazing piece of history from both male and female perspectives with moments of; pilot recruitment, training, tragedies, love relationships,  flight strategies, weather conditions and other surprising facts that contributed to the heroic stories of these very young, brave, pilots.  The play is collectively created by a cast of twenty four Westwood, high school, actors who had to dramaturg and research the history, workshop scenes, and create a collection of monologues, vignettes and character moments. The play features true to life characters such as Major Marina Raskova, famous ace pilot Lilly Litvak, and Nadia Popova who was one of the longest surviving Night Witch passing away in 2012. Nathan Loitz, a professionally trained Actor Combatant through Fight Directors Canada, worked with the cast to create jaw dropping combat moments. The movement of the play, choreographed by student choreographer Jonathan Cestnick, is both spellbinding and stunning. The play features model planes and uniform elements built by Westwood robotics teacher Mr. Brian Vaughan using a 3D printer. Backstage support for the play and stage manager Cally Miller are also Westwood students.

Night Witches has a few scenes with suggested violence and occasional language and is recommended for audiences aged twelve and up. The show runs from November 18-21, tickets can be purchased at the Westwood office, $15 adults, $10 students & seniors, $5 for preview night. For more information please contact: Terri.Mort or 780-791-1986 Ext. 178

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Alberta Symphony Orchestra PROMO TOUR Comes to Keyano

The Alberta Symphony Orchestra Society (A.S.O) Promo Tour is coming to Keyano, this Saturday, 7:30pm-9:30pm. ASO String Quintet, soprano Cara Brown, pianist & conductor Emilio De Mercato are currently touring around the Province performing in 10 different cities (Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Red Deer, Calgary, Lloydminster, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Fort McMurray, Camrose, Lethbridge) with the goal of promoting and presenting to the different communities the project of founding a new symphony orchestra, the Alberta Symphony Orchestra. The program of the promo tour includes symphonic works arranged for chamber formation such as Mozart (Overture from The Marriage of Figaro), Beethoven (Emperor Piano Concerto), Brahms (Hungarian Dance No.5), and a selection of wonderful songs by Puccini (“O mio babbino caro”), Gershwin (“Summertime”), Chausson (“Chanson perpétuelle”), Arlen (“Over the Rainbow”), Denza (“Funiculì-Funiculà”).

The ASO String Quintet is formed by: Etelka Nyilasi (first violin), Marie Krejcar (second violin), Leanne Maitland (viola), Amy Nicholson (cello), Jonathan Yeoh (double bass).

Visit or contact Emilio De Mercato email;, (780) 716-2334 for further information.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Santa Claus Parade-Volunteer or Register a Christmas Float

Want to get on Santa’s ‘Nice’ list this Christmas? Volunteer and float registration opens today for this year’s Santa Claus Parade & Lights of Christmas presented by Country 93.3.

“We’re inviting volunteers to register for the parade and get the best seat in the house as Santa makes his way through downtown Fort McMurray,” said Parade coordinator, Megan Stringer. “This is also a great opportunity for community groups and businesses to register a float and be seen in the parade.” The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Holly Jolly Christmas.’

Every year, the local volunteer community has been helping the Santa Claus Parade
festivities to be a success. More than 50 floats participated in last year’s Parade, and
nearly 5,000 spectators came out to see Santa. December 5th is going to be a festive day in Fort McMurray with the Santa Claus Parade starting at 6:30 p.m., and the Lights of Christmas in Jubilee Plaza at 5 p.m. Residents are also invited to visit the Elves’ Workshop, hosted by the Wood Buffalo Regional Library at MacDonald Island Park from 12:00 – 4:30 p.m.

To volunteer, register a float, or find out more, visit, or email

Registration is open until November 23rd. For additional details please contact Megan Stringer, or visit

The McMurray Experience

The McMurray Experience is our regions new indoor, interactive, multi-media space, conveniently located in the heart of Fort McMurray’s downtown. The McMurray Experience is a modern space that will showcase our region and be the central hub for everyone to connect with the community. We offer nine unique experiences in our space for people of all ages. See what’s trending, admire our local artists, or travel back in time with our history wall. 

McMurray Experience is a place to make your own memories, share your story and interact with other members of our beautiful community.

For more information on how to book your next event please visit our website at or contact

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Come Celebrate Diwali

Hindu Cultural Society of Fort McMurray is pleased to announce its biggest event of the year Diwali Party this Saturday at the Quality Inn Hotel. Deepavali or Diwali is one of the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It's the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that's marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.

Tickets are now open to non-members, there are only a few left so grab yours now by contacting Prasad Gudivada, (780)792-6048, email:

Carry some loose change with you and walk out with a big prize by participating in our raffle draw. Lucky draws, gifts, exotic Indian cuisine & live Bollywood music by Shweta Subramanium are the highlights of the event.

Ticket Details:
Adult Member 12 yrs & above -- $40
Child Member 5-11 yrs -- $20. However if kids under 5yrs need a seat than ticket needs to be purchased.
Adult Non- Member 12 yrs & above -- $50
Child Non-Member 5-11 yrs -- $25. However if kids under 5yrs need a seat than ticket needs to be purchased.

Program Details:
 5.30 to 8.00 pm -- Snacks, Opening Announcements, Kids Performance, Felicitation of Sponsors & Chief Guests
 8.00 to 9.00 pm -- Dinner
 9.00 to 12.00 pm -- Live Performance by Shweta Subramanium & band & dance floor

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Filling the Palette

MacDonald Island Community Art Gallery presented by Kirschner Family Corporation is excited to announce their 5th Annual Charity Exhibition titled Filling the Palette is open for viewing Monday, November 9th through to November 29th and benefits the Wood Buffalo Food Bank!

This year the silent auction component of the exhibition will be held online at commencing during the Open Reception on November 12th. 10 artworks will be for auction while the rest can be purchased at the displayed price. 50% of the sale price will go to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank with the other 50% going to the artist. 

Do not miss the Open Reception November 12th, from 7PM - 9PM. Enjoy light refreshments, live music and view a variety of artworks from local artists, having the chance to bid on artwork for yourself and donate to a great cause!

Please bring a non perishable food item as a donation to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. For more information please visit