Locals VIP Club


Bachelor Canada

Posted September 28th, 2012

“Hello ladies.  I’m Brad Smith.  I’m your new Bachelor.  I’m all-Canadian and all man.  I like beautiful ladies, long walks on the beach, smooth jazz, and beautiful ladies.”

Okay, sorry, I couldn’t resist…the above photo is screaming for a caption like that!  And, honestly, when I had a chance to interview Brad Smith, the star of the new Bachelor Canada, I was half expecting that kind of guy.  Cocky, smarmy, a guy that thinks he’s God’s gift to women.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself chatting with someone who didn’t come across like that at all.  He strikes me as pretty down-to-earth, funny, and straightforward.  Basically, just a nice Canadian guy.  Judge for yourself:

Download Brad Smith Interview

The Bachelor Canada premieres Wednesday night at 8pm local time on CityTV!  Fans can follow Brad on Twitter at @bradcsmith and the show’s feed at @BachelorCA, and check out the website too for more details.

For 1000 Locals VIP Bonus Code points, enter the name of the star of The Bachelor Canada.  The code will work until the date of the premiere on October 3rd.

Have you ever wanted to be in a movie?  How about a movie starring this guy?

Hello!  The appeal of the above sentence may depend on your gender/orientation, however I’d imagine there are a lot of people who would be pretty excited about being in close proximity to Ryan Kwanten!  This Aussie hottie is best known for his portrayal of Jason Stackhouse from HBO’s hit TV show True Blood.  Ryan will be in the Bow Valley for a whole month for a shoot of the movie Sex & Sunsets.  It’s no small-time production – the film also stars SCTV alumnus Catherine O’Hara and Sara Canning from The Vampire Diaries.  And, of course, this guy:


The production is looking for extras to fill out the background for certain scenes – at a bar, a wedding, tourists, etc.  It’s a pretty open call – men and women aged 12-70 of all ethnic backgrounds.  Shooting runs from August 20th to September 19th and you’d be needed for one or maybe a few days during that time period.  They’ll pay you $11.25 an hour and time and a half after 8 hours (some shooting days can run pretty long).  Being a movie extra can be a little tedious and repetitive – I’ve done it once and recall spending an entire morning shooting the same scene over, and over, and over, walking 20 feet in the same direction, then going back and doing it again, so don’t come expecting an incredibly thrilling experience.  However, catching a glimpse of yourself in an actual movie makes it totally worth it.  Plus the chance to get up close with Ryan Kwanten!  I’ve hired a professional sketch artist to simulate this experience:

The casting call runs from 10am to 8pm this Saturday at the Fenlands Banff Rec Centre.  No previous experience is necessary and you don’t need some big acting portfolio – just show up!  For more details, here’s the interview I had with casting director Alyson Lockwood earlier this week:

Download Sex & Sunsets Casting Call Interview

Locals VIP Code worth 1000 points is “Kwanten”.  The code expires at the end of the day Sunday, August 12th.

Canmore Folk Festival FAQ

Posted August 2nd, 2012

The Canmore Folk Music Festival has a great website, as well as a new mobile app you can get for your smartphone.  Both are very informative but are missing an essential element – a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page!  So, on their behalf, I’ve created one, based on the numerous* questions I’ve received from listeners** recently.

(* ‘Numerous’ is an ambiguous term which may refer to a few or, more likely, none at all)

(** In this case, the term ‘listeners’ could also refer to ‘the voices inside my head’)

Where is the Canmore Folk Music Festival located?  When is it held?

The Canmore Folk Music Festival is held annually on the August Long Weekend in Canmore’s picturesque Centennial Park.  From the highway or Bow Valley Trail, take Railway Avenue and turn onto Main Street.  Hang a left at the lights on 6th avenue and you’re there.  Hard to miss the park with all the music and people and grass and stuff.  Parking is pretty limited in the area so plan to park a few blocks away and hoof it.

I’m a magician, currently locked in a trunk at the bottom of Quarry Lake.  Can you give me directions from here?

Sure.  First, you must get out of your strait jacket.  Wriggle until you feel the fabric start to give slack and then loosen your arms.  Use one of the metal strait jacket fasteners to pick the lock on the inside of the trunk.  Take a deep breath, open the trunk, and swim upwards.  Towel yourself off.  Then follow the steps in the above question.

What should I bring?

If you want to sit in front of the main stage, you’ll need to bring either a tarp or blanket (max 6×8 feet) or one of those mini-sized lawn chairs that you can buy at the nearest store that sells camping supplies for Hobbits.  Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.  A great selection of food and drink is available on site for purchase as well.

By drink do you mean, like, ”Drink”?

Sorry dude, it’s a dry festival.  However, the off-site Folk Festival Pub at the Canmore Miners Union Hall was a big success last year and you can purchase alcohol there while enjoying live local music.

So I can get totally sloppy?  You’ve never seen Ian Tyson until you see Ian Tyson hammered!

You can do whatever you want,  I suppose.  But try not to act like an idiot.  The reason the festival is dry is because it’s meant as a great family-friendly event.  Don’t wreck it for everyone by being a tool.

Can I get my groove on?

Sure.  There’s all-day dance zones beside the stage, and during the last two acts on Saturday and Sunday night’s they’ll clear the tarps and chairs from the front so you can rock out to Current Swell and Elage Diouf.  Here’s a handy-dandy map!

What time is Metallica going on stage?

Umm…I think you’re at the wrong festival…

Yeah, I know, I was kidding.  Seriously though, what time does…

You can get a full festival schedule on their website here.

I hadn’t finished my question there.  Don’t interrupt me.


I’m on a crazy new fad diet that only allows me to eat pancakes.  Will I be able to get pancakes anywhere?  I need my pancakes!  PANCAKES!

Don’t worry, you can get your pancake fix at the annual Free Pancake Breakfast outside the Canmore Miners Union Hall on Monday between 8:30 and 10:30.  Bring a food donation for the Food Bank or a cash donation for the Canmore Music Scholarship Fund.

Any other cool stuff going on?

There’s a big street party Friday night in front of the Civic Centre with guitar virtuoso Kim Churchill.  And a Children’s Concert at the Seniors Centre at 1pm on Saturday with Elage Diouf.

I heard you had a good conversation with Festival Director Sue Panning the other day.  Can I hear it?


Download Interview with Sue Panning

How about a Locals VIP Bonus Code?  Hook me up!

 Of course!  Enter “Cockburn” for 1000 points.  The code will work until the end of the long weekend on August 6th.

Happy Folk Fest-ing!  Have a great long weekend!

Local People doing Cool Stuff

Posted July 19th, 2012

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a semi-regular feature on my blog – “Local People doing Cool Stuff”.  I’ve featured a few locals on my show this week who have undertaken some interesting projects and want to share their stories with you!

First up is Rob Power from Canmore.  Not only does Rob Power have perhaps one of the awesomest names ever, he’s part of an organization that is also very awesome.  True Patriot Love assists Canadian soldiers, veterans, and their families with financial support, with a focus on soldiers with injuries, disabilities, and Post Traumatic Stress.  A group of Canaidan soldiers are in the area this week doing some mountaineering training for a planned Himalayan expedition.  They’ll be making their way up to Everest base camp and embarking to the summit of Island Peak in the area.  Their journey and the True Patriot Love organization is being highlighted in a documentary being filmed by the CBC called March to the Top - film crews were in town on Wednesday.  Here’s my interview with Rob:

Download Rob Power – March to the Top

The second story is all about movies.  For years, Canmoreites have yearned for their own movie theatre but it’s never materialized.  So a group of local cinema buffs decided to seize the initiative and say “How can we make this happen?”  Thanks to their efforts and a bit of good fortune with the recent opening of the Solara Resort’s Aurora Theatre, which already has high definition projectors and tiered seating, the Canmore Movie Theatre is a go!  Playing critically acclaimed, art house-type films on select nights, they’ve already booked three dates and three films.  First up is Bernie, which opens tonight.  Response has been very strong – the 7pm screening has already sold out, so they added a second show at 9:15.  Tickets are still available in advance for $6.50 through their websiteor $8 at the door.  Here’s my interview with Charla Sharp Tomlinson, one of the Canmore Move Theatre founders:

DownloadCharla Sharp Tomlinson – Canmore Movie Theatre

Finally, meet Meagan Stewart.  This Banffite has created a new sport, Figure Kiting, which essentially combines Figure Skating and Kite Boarding into one sport.  Imagine the kind of air one could get figure skating with a wind-assisted kite launch!  Meagan has made the top 11 in the Red Bull Launchpad competition (and is also the only woman left in the field).  Part of this round is also the ability to create buzz around the idea, so she’s looking for local help spreading the word.  She chatted with me on the show this morning:

Download Meagan Stewart – Figure Kiting

I’m always looking to hear stories about local people doing cool stuff!  If you or someone you know in the Bow Valley has done something even remotely awesome – come up with a new idea, created an exciting piece of work, or just generally seized the initiative and done something that people would be interested in hearing about, please get in touch with me!

Today’s Locals VIP Bonus Code is the name of the movie that is playing tonight at the Canmore Movie Theatre (mentioned earlier in this blog entry).  1000 VIP points are yours if you enter it before midnight on Sunday, July 22nd.

My Wife in Time Magazine

Posted July 3rd, 2012

Hope you all had a great long weekend!  Ours was made quite awesome by a piece of unexpected and exciting news we woke up to on Monday.

My wife Lauren is known to many people as one of the lovely ladies who work at Dr. Michael Bruhjell’s optometry in downtown Canmore.  What many people don’t know about her is that she’s also an author who writes under her maiden name, Lauren Hawkeye, primarily writing Harlequin-esque erotic fiction.  She’s been working hard at it for over five years and has slowly been getting her name out there, first with stories released withsmaller e-Publishers, then a few short stories with Harlequin’s digital imprint.  Finally, a couple of months ago, Lauren’s first full-length work was released with HarperCollins Avon Red – My Wicked Gladiators

Pretty hot cover, hey?  My Wicked Gladiators is an erotic historical fiction about, well, gladiators!  Two of them, in fact.  It’s a steamy read.

The erotic fiction market has been on fire lately thanks to a little book tril0gy called 50 Shades of Grey.  Lauren’s book was actually on the release schedule before 50 Shades really exploded, so the release timing couldn’t have been better.  We both felt that if, somehow, her book could be linked to 50 Shades in some well-read publication, it had the potential to take off.

That finally happened yesterday!  And it couldn’t have happened in a bigger place – TIME MAGAZINE!  In an article talking about steamy summer reads in the vein of 50 Shades, Lauren’s book was mentioned along with a handful of others!  We went out to brunch at Chez Francois yesterday to celebrate.  Lauren is seriously excited and I’m seriously proud of her!  The article appears online and is also in the July 9th print edition.

If you’re interested in reading my wife’s book, you can download it here for your Kindle.  It’s also available for Kobo, etc.  They’ve also done a limited print run and a few copies are available at Cafe Books in Canmore.  If vampires are more your thing, her latest release is a short story under Harlequin’s Nocturne Cravings line called The Darkling’s Surrender.

Your Locals VIP Bonus Code is “Gladiators”.  Enter it before midnight on Sunday, July 8th to collect your 1000 VIP points.

A Tribute to Funky Dude

Posted June 29th, 2012

With Canmore’s new branding being put into place, it’s time we say goodbye to our old branding.  Specifically, Funky Dude.  The final Funky Dude banners are being replaced today, in time for the long weekend.  In fact, as I type this I’m watching the Town of Canmore truck replacing Funky Dude on the light pole by Policeman’s Creek, right outside my office window.  As we say goodbye to a local cultural icon, I felt it appropriate to deliver a tribute to our old friend.

A Tribute to Funky Dude

Funky Dude is a great man.  I think a man anyway.  Somewhat androgynous perhaps.  Funky Dude was also born with a few other attributes that made life difficult in his early years.  He was always skinnier than most kids.  Yellow skin.  No discernible facial appendages.  But growing up, he had a dream.  Like his famous distant cousin and 90s pop culture icon, 7UP’s Fido Dido, Funky Dude always wanted to be the face of a brand.  In Canmore, he finally found his place.  And whether he was pedalling away on his bicycle, playing the saxophone, hurtling down a slope on cross-country skis, or taking a hike with his favourite walking stick, Funky Dude was the embodiment of the Canmore lifestyle for many, many years.  And oh, those crazy hats.  And general lack of pants.  Funky Dude, I know how hard this new direction must be for you.  I can only imagine how difficult it was to hear the news.  I can only hope your many years of service qualified you for a big, fat, funky pension.  And even though you may be going through some big lifestyle changes, I hope you look back fondly of your time in Canmore.  Not everyone gets to really live their dream, and you did.  So to you I say – stay funky, dude.  Follow your heart.  And always keep your sights on the horizon.  Even though you don’t have eyeballs.

Canmore’s New Brand

Posted June 28th, 2012

A large group of Canmore’s who’s-who gathered at the Radisson Hotel yesterday for an exciting unveiling of Canmore’s new brand.  It was the simple answer to a complicated question – “What is Canmore?”  According to Tourism Canmore Kananaskis Director Andrew Nickerson, if you ask that question to 10 different people you’ll get 10 different answers.  There are so many components that make up Canmore – spectacular mountain vistas, sports and athletics, a vibrant arts scene, spas and relaxation, hiking, cycling, wildlife…how do you package that into one cohesive message without going all over the map and trying to be everything to everyone?  Somehow, it’s been done – the common response I heard after the unveiling was “This really makes sense”.  I personally feel that the brand is both authentic and looks incredibly professional.

There are a couple of buzz-phrases that really define the brand:

Canada’s Global Destination for Mountain Lifestyle

An Authentic and Personal Mountain Lifestyle Experience

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  Because everyone has their own definition of what Canmore means to them, why not essentially say just that?  The term “Mountain Lifestyle” has such a broad definition, but when you think of what that term actually means to you, doesn’t it conjure up a very personal connection to this place we know and love?

Also, check out our new logo.  Doesn’t it look great?

The multiple colours represent the many different facets of Canmore life.  This is the “omni” all purpose logo but different ones will be used for different occasions.  For example, if the logo was being attached to an artistic event the background would be entirely red.

I had a chance to speak with Andrew Nickerson after his presentation and here’s what he had to say about Canmore’s new brand:

DownloadAndrew Nickerson on Canmore’s new brand

You’re going to start to see a lot of our town’s re-imaging in the coming days.  Funky Dude is coming down from Canmore’s light standards and being replaced by the new logo.  There are thousands of temporary tattoos of the new logo being handed out on Canada Day.  The idea is to eventually change the “Welcome to Canmore” sign to reflect Canmore’s new brand as well as local wayfinding signage (the concepts for them look great).

Want to find out more?  Check out the kiosk set up at today’s Canmore Mountain Market in front of the Civic Centre.  You can also drop by the Visitor Info Centre to see some displays.  The Tourism Canmore website has also re-launched.

The Locals VIP Bonus Code worth 1000 points is, quite simply, “Canmore”.  Because it’s the place we all love and our new brand really reinforces our own personal, special connection to this little piece of paradise.

By-Election Mayoral Candidates

Posted June 18th, 2012

If you missed any of my interviews with the candidates for mayor in this upcoming by-election, here they are!

Download Pam Hilstad

Download Ed Russell

Download John Borrowman

The by-election is Tuesday, June 19th from 10am to 8pm at the Canmore Civic Centre.  We’ll be choosing a new mayor and two new councilors to fill vacant seats.  Please vote – this is an incredibly competitive race and it could be very close!

Enter “New Mayor” as a Locals VIP Bonus Code for 1000 points.  The code will work until the end of the day Sunday, May 24th.

The Eerie Green

Posted June 15th, 2012

I am constantly blown away by the talent of the young people in this town.

The Eerie Green is a local trio made up of Layten Kramer, Logan Thackray, and Eli Panning-Osendarp.  Layten first came on my radar when I overheard some people raving about his performance at one of the Pine Tree Players Singer/Songwriter Series.  I’d never met him before but I started hearing some other buzz as well, including the fact that he was working with Michael Bernard Fitzgerald on an EP.  I invited him into the studio last year to perform a tune and became a quick fan of his music.

At the time, Layten was joined in the studio by Eli on drums and Logan on backing vocals.  Since that time, Logan was formally adopted into a group and began contributing to songwriting.  Thus, The Eerie Green was born!

As entertainment coordinator for this year’s Relay For Life, I invited them to headline the stage events earlier this month.  After their set I had a bunch of people come up to me telling me how impressed they were.  They were even more shocked when I told them they were all still in high school!

Today marks the release day of their new self-titled EP.  They’re also performing a sold-out show at the Communitea Cafe this evening.  The EP is available on iTunes, you can also stream it from their website (click on the “Music” tab).  As a fan, I highly recommend checking out their music – their new stuff sounds really fantastic!

Of course I had to invite them back into the studio to share some of their new tunes.  Here’s their performance of “Time is Here to Stay” from my show this morning.

Download The Eerie Green – Time is Here To Stay (Live at Mountain FM)

Sam Roberts Band

Posted June 13th, 2012

It was a real pleasure to have Sam Roberts on the show with me today.  Sam and his band are a hard-working group of musicians that have been consistently releasing great albums over the last decade.  In our interview, he came across to me as somewhat more soft-spoken than I was expecting, and also as a genuine nice guy.  If you missed it you can stream it here:

Download Sam Roberts Interview

The Sam Roberts Band will be live in concert, with opening act Dan Mangan, at this year’s Performance In The Park!  Hoping for some nice weather June 23rd at Cascade Gardens at the Parks Canada Admin Building in Banff.  Tickets still available!  Click here to get them through TicketMaster, or call the Banff Centre Box Office at 403-762-6301.

The name “Sam Roberts” is also good for 1000 points on our Locals VIP Club if you enter it as a Bonus Code before the end of the day Sunday, June 17th.