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McDougall Church-The Unchanged Version (© Jack Blair, Photographer)

“Change is as good as a rest.” (Winston Churchill)

“We make change for change's sake.”

“Change means progress.”

“What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.” (Maya Angelou)


Recently, I’ve been contemplating change around me and in the world and, I have found on first blush, I don’t like it. I take comfort in consistency in my life these days, but for some reason the world isn’t paying attention to me.

When I was younger, I welcomed change. Change in my career meant new opportunities and exciting new projects. In fact, I used to go looking for opportunities to find change and also to create change myself. Ah, the uninhibited time of my youth.

In my eighth decade on this earth, I’m not always so thrilled with change.

The image above is an example of a change that I could have done without. That little building under the formidable cloud is/was the McDougall Church near Morley which burned down in 2017. Driving past this church always brought to mind a memory about my parents. When I was young, the old Highway 1, now the 1A, was the only road to Banff and on every trip there we passed this church. Mom would always say something as we passed, even if it was just, “Ah yes, there is the McDougall church.” She didn’t say that as a lesson for me, because most times she wasn’t looking at the building. I think she was just talking to herself and remembering driving past the church with her mother, father, and sister in their Model ’T’ Ford on their own trip to Banff in the early 1900’s.

Now the landmark is gone, although a replica has been built. No memory of my folks stirs in me when I drive by the location. A change to both me and, if she was alive, to my mother. I’ll speak for her and say this was a change neither of us relish.

Some people think of growth and progress as synonymous. I don’t. In Cochrane the comparison between progress and growth can be easily seen. The growth in population is exceptionally fast. Too fast for much of the existing infrastructure, especially that which is dependent on the provincial government. We came to Cochrane to get away from the big city environment and the pace of many of its inhabitants. It is definitely better here, but the growth is driving necessary change so the construction busyness and pace of people around town is starting to remind us of what we left behind. For us, this doesn’t seem like progress.

I think the local growth in Cochrane is created, for the most part, by the spillover from growth in Calgary and the town has very little it can do about that in the land of free enterprise. If we didn’t change here, the town would be a mess.

Even though I’m not enamoured with the influx of people, there is some progress that I must confess to appreciating. This has to do with the services that are now available in Cochrane. When we arrived, five years ago, there was much that we had to drive to Calgary to obtain. Now we are able to save time and gas because more is available here.

If truth be known, I still like change, but only when I am in control of it. Now, I would enjoy living in a town that has a stable population and where infrastructure construction is settled. This means being in a small town with minimum of stores and services.

That sounds ideal, but wait a minute—where then would I get my lattés and croissant? Life’s such a challenge, ain’t it.



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