I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on this Lonely Planet business over the last few weeks. I watched at first the quick uprising of “how dare they!?” after Cranbrook was labelled as a depressing work a day town, that shock and defence was quickly followed up by what Cranbrook and it’s community does best, a quick witted and charity fuelled rally of support. I read through the Lonely Planet review of Cranbrook and I found myself trying to find my own reply to their inaccurate definition of my/our hometown. Perhaps instead of cruising through the strip on their way to Nelson or Fernie they should have stayed a bit longer and interacted with some of the champions of our community. If they’d done that I’m sure their review would have wrapped our fair town in a much more favourable package. Maybe if they’d hopped on a bicycle and headed just a few seconds out of the main hub of town they’d see we’re blessed with an oasis of biking, hiking, running, and beautiful mountain views in the Cranbrook Community Forest. Or if singletrack isn’t their thing, a lovely cruise along the NorthStar trail to Kimberley. Maybe if they’d stayed for a weekend they could have popped into the bustling Farmer’s Market downtown and picked up a nice selection of locally grown produce, fresh baked goods and best of all a nice taste of Cranbrook’s community pride.
What people don’t often see is that it’s filled with a quiltwork of talented, inspiring, hardworking people who have spent their lives making sure our city shines as bright as possible.
We know that our city is great and that our community is growing, we also know that it needs some paint and some road filler and maybe some of the glossed over charm of the smaller towns to the east and west. Cranbrook is overlooked but what people don’t often see is that it’s filled with a quiltwork of talented, inspiring, hardworking people who have spent their lives making sure our city shines as bright as possible. When I started sharing my photographs online, thousands and then millions of people were exposed to a new corner of the world. I used our mountains, hills, rivers, and fields as backdrops in my work which was then shared around the world and people fell in love with the landscape. I always made it a point to say how lucky I was to live in a town that not only provided me with the environmental magic to create but also a community of people that supported the arts, supported our hometown creatives and celebrated those that were trying to make it beyond the borders of our valley. When I think back to Cranbrook, I feel like it’s a visual journey through the mountains. My mind filters through the sunsets, the thunderstorms, the alpenglow and then glides through the rivers, the fields of wildflowers and grazing animals, down into our small hub of community. The heart of our home is made up of those that celebrate each Sam Steele Days weekend, who make sure our youth have access to services, who arrange parades and celebrations, who wear their civic pride with a smile on their face. Cranbrook is much more than a few sentences in a hastily written review. It’s years of celebrations, moments of success and growth, it’s a mosaic of atheletes, artists, civic leaders, activists, teachers and hardworking business owners.
What is Cranbrook? Cranbrook is home, in all its worn walls and faded paint, it’s our warm home and its door is open.