Thursday, April 27 - Friday, April 28


The Calgary Retired Teachers’ Association invites you to join us in celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary at:

Ramada Plaza Calgary Airport Hotel and Conference Centre
3515 -26 St. NE, Calgary AB, T1Y 7E3
(403) 250 – 8855



Thursday, April 27

Join us for Dinner and an Special Evening of Canadiana with:

The Wardens



“They were often funny, sometimes poignant, and frequently celebratory...without artifice, no theatrics or showmanship, just plain, wholesome narrative songs expertly performed on guitars and upright bass, and homespun stories humbly told, bringing the lives of park wardens in the wilderness of Canada's mountain national parks into vivid perspective.”
“The Wardens...made the audience feel like they were sitting around a campfire in a Rocky Mountain campground.”

- Mike Redfern, Kimberley Daily Bulletin

Based in Banff, Scott Ward, Bradley Bischoff and Ray Schmidt have spent their lives in the most rugged of all places – the wilderness of Canada’s mountain national parks. They are bringing to us an evening of superb musicianship, haunting harmonies and chilling tales. Protecting grizzly bears, rescuing stranded hikers and lonely nights on the pack trail, their stories rise from the very land they’ve served for the past 30 years. You will share in a special program of music and storytelling, as “The Wardens” blend folk, roots and western styles to reflect the pristine wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.

Join in as they lead off “Steppin’ Out 2017”, and our celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

5:30 PM No Host Bar
6:30 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Entertainment


Cucumber Bowl with Summer Field Raspberry Dressing
Prime Rib, with Rosemary Thyme Yorkshire and Pan Jus
Key Lime Pie


steppinhippo2017* Special Thanks to Cartoonist Les McClaine for use of “Hippo Steppin’ Out”

Friday, April 29


8:30 – 9:00 AM Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM Welcome
9:05 – 9:35 AM Parks Canada 2017
9:50 AM – 10:45 AM SESSION I
11:05 AM – 12:00 Noon SESSION II
12:00 Noon – 1:15 PM LUNCH
1:30 – 2:25 PM SESSION III


To old friends and new, we look forward to seeing you at this year’s event. The goal of the day is to learn a little, laugh a lot; renew friendships old, and make some new. This year, join us in celebrating Canada 150. Dress for the day... casual and comfortable, and if so inclined, add a little ‘Red and White’.


The following Sessions and Presenters have been confirmed. Please identify the THREE Topics that interest you most, on the INTEREST SURVEY accompanying this registration. This will help us minimize conflicts between participant preferences, as we allocate appropriately sized rooms, and schedule the three time-slots of the day.


Celebrating The Arts

Acrylic Painting

Join impressionist artist Kathy Adamo in an adventure using acrylic paints. Kathy has studied art in France and has been working on her technique for over 20 years. Last November and December she joined five other artists in a pop up gallery in Inglewood. She has been instructing the winter acrylic art workshops for the CRTA and last summer joined us on the Art in the Park bus trip to William Watson Lodge. (Hands-on workshop limited to twenty participants.)

An Introduction to Music Therapy

Music Therapy has been one of our most entertaining and informative sessions in past conferences. We’re excited to have Music Therapist Shannon Robinson join us. Shannon is passionate about the power of music to build relationships, and act as a catalyst for wellness and growth. In this presentation you will learn:

  • How areas of the brain react to music, and why this matters
  • How persons with neurological impairment can still respond to music regardless of where the impairment lies.
  • How music can reduce and eliminate stress and anxiety when used with intention.
  • How music therapy benefits all ages.

The Trajectory of a Celebrity Hound

“There are days when I still shake my head in disbelief when I think of how I found myself juggling teaching English and drama at Central Memorial High School with interviewing some of the greatest legends of the British stage . . . It doesn't stop there either as I found myself on the film junket circuit sitting down with some of the biggest names on both sides of the Hollywood cameras. I invite you to join me for a fireside chat and peek at my notes from close to 40 years of hobnobbing with the good, bad and ugly of the stars of stage and screen. I may even have an anecdote or two of one of your favourite celebrities.” Join us in welcoming Louis B. Hobson, former teacher who has been the voice of live theatre and film in Calgary for the past four decades.



Lego – Serious Play

Dave Ware is a leading trainer/facilitator with an avid interest in the concept of "Play". He's also a Certified Lego Serious Play facilitator, with thirty years of experience in improvisation with some of the leading minds in the field. Over the last ten years, he has created over 120 LEGO mosaics and is known for his pop culture and celebrity mosaic. Dave has built pieces for Academy Award winners, television personalities, and cultural icons. Peter Dinklage called Dave’s work “Brilliant”. Richard Taylor (CEO of Weta Workshop) called his work “Exquisite”. Lego Serious Play is an introduction to the concepts of play and generating ideas through tactile use of Lego bricks. Attendees will work with bricks to generate meaningful metaphors

Real Conversations about Mental Illness/Mental Health

Real Conversations about mental illness has been a part of Mona Cooley’s life since 1995 when her daughter was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. When she and her daughter do speaking engagements, they both talk about the Mental Illness is a Gift. How do you find hope in mental illness? What gets in the way of not having hope? How can communities, families and professionals work together to impact mental health and wellness? Mona is known for her real conversations about the reality of family situations and how her honesty and compassion has brought happiness, joy back into their lives. Get ready for a lively presentation and conversation, with her humour, stories, hope and insights of how adversity turned into being her passion and profession.



Waterton’s Wonderful Flora and Fauna

This colourful presentation will be a celebration of the wild creatures, wildflowers, and the majestic scenery of Waterton Lakes National Park. From bears to beargrass, birds to butterflies and open meadows to high panoramas, enjoy a prelude to summer and a photographic tour of this special place presented by Ian Wilson and Jacinthe Lavoie, authors of Waterton Wild and Wildflowers of Waterton Park. Ian has spent many years exploring and photographing northern Canada. His most recent books are Wildflowers of Banff Park, Wildflowers of Waterton Park, and Waterton Wild. Ian has also written five bestselling outdoor adventure books. Jacinthe Lavoie has been a flowerbug since her childhood days. With training as a researcher, she has observed and enjoyed nature through each season. Her most recent books are Wildflowers of Banff Park, Wildflowers of Waterton Park, and Waterton Wild.

Long Stay Travel with Merit Vacations

Don and Mary Checkley have organized six very successful travel vacations for CRTA members. This year the Travel group engaged Merit Travel to book a longterm stay vacation on the Costa del Sol of Spain. The group is travelling to Spain in March and staying for twenty-seven days in a massive condo/hotel located on the beach in Torremolinos, a village outside of Malaga on the Costa del Sol. Included in their package are four day trips: Granada, Cordova, Gibraltar and Nerja. The package also provides a two-night excursion to visit Ronda and the white villages, two half day trips into Malaga, one to see a flamenco show and another for a tapas dinner. Attend this session to hear from the participants about their adventure.

Pipestone Travel Session

Corinne Willerth from Pipestone Travel is back for her annual visit. Always a highlight, she will be sharing the latest in travel items and accessories. An expert on what to put in your suitcase and what to leave out, Corinne will demonstrate how to pack and what to pack for travelling aboard. She will be presenting new security materials to protect your documents, credit cards and passports, and will also provide advice on how to travel safely.


Let's Get Physical

Zumba Gold Fitness

Join Heather Nolin for the fun. Zumba Gold Fitness is a Latin dance fitness class for active older adults, taught at a lower intensity level than the original Zumba class. Heather is a certified Zumba instructor who has taught classes for the City of Calgary Recreation, YMCA, and the Calgary Catholic School Board.

Maximize your Mobility - The Magic of Myofascia

Join Diane Thuna to learn how whole body movements performed in a variety of different directions can reduce stiffness and pain. Our muscles live and work within a continuous 3-dimensional network of tissue we call fascia. Healthy, hydrated fascia is uniquely elastic and adaptable, supporting our musculature while allowing us to easily move in all directions. Unfortunately, stress, inactivity, poor posture and the repetitive movements of daily life can cause the fascia to thicken and "cement" in certain places, or can pull the fascia into ingrained patterns, making it more difficult for us to move with our former ease. Maximize your mobility!.



Late Blooming Perennials

Ever wondered how to get late summer colour in your garden? Keeping the show going in August can be a challenge! The early summer flowering perennials and shrubs look tired and lackluster. When bloom-time is over, many of these perennials call it quits and all but disappear until next spring. In a perennial garden, these late-season gaps are almost impossible to avoid. All is not lost and there can be vibrant colour around you and not just from bedding and hanging basket displays! Kath Smyth is a horticulturist with extensive experience in the horticultural industry. She brings a wealth of knowledge and her unique humour to television appearances, public presentations and client consultations. She is currently working as a Horticulturist for The Calgary Horticultural Society and appears regularly on Global morning television, Calgary CBC Radio’s Eye-opener, and Alberta at Noon.

Heirloom Tomatoes

So you want to grow tomatoes in Calgary? Jeffrey Casey will share tips to ensure that you will successfully grow tomatoes in our challenging climate. In addition, he will introduce participants to the amazing flavours, colours, sizes, and textures of heirloom tomatoes. Jeffrey started growing his own vegetables while in Hokkaido on the Japan Exchange and Teaching program over 25 years ago. Upon his return to Alberta, the lack of flavourful tomatoes in grocery stores and meager selection of tomato transplant varieties at local garden centres provided the impetus to search the web for tomatoes that will grow in Airdrie. Sharing his successes and failures with tomatoes in Airdrie, Jeffrey started his own heirloom tomato seed business: Casey's Heirloom Tomatoes of Airdrie. Besides growing tomatoes and the like, Jeffrey teaches Japanese, English, and Horticulture at George McDougall High School in Airdrie.

Botanical Delights

Botanic gardens around the world share characteristics that distinguish them from other types of gardens. Gardeners of any ability and from any locale can benefit from visiting these amazing institutions, gaining information and inspiration. Using images from her visits to botanic gardens in cities such as London, Dublin, New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver, Jane Reksten will showcase the role that botanic gardens play for gardeners and for society at large. Then she will bring things full circle by focusing on the current and expanding botanic gardens at Olds College. Jane is the Manager, Botanic Gardens and Greenhouses at Olds College in Olds, Alberta.

Seeing the World Through Rose-Coloured Glasses

Lorna McIlroy, Retired Teacher from Grand Prairie is known to many of us for her active leadership in ARTA. However, Lorna has another life as horticulturalist, which has led her to worldwide adventures as a Judge for communities in Bloom. This has led her to an expertise in ‘Growing Roses around the World’: Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, India, China, South America, across Canada and in Calgary. Learn how your passion (in Lorna’s case –roses!) can lead you around the world, and then let that travel experience enhance and enrich your experience at home. The session will conclude with suggested cultivars and techniques for rose growing in the Calgary area.



Residential Options for Your Changing Lifestyle: What's Out There for the 55+

Our housing and social lifestyles change as we age. At the same time, we might feel reluctant to explore the many interesting options available to us. Get a glimpse of the brave new world of housing and lifestyle choices available for the 55+, so you can "be in the know". Tom Kerwin's first career was as an elementary and high school teacher in three Ontario school boards. The bulk of his working life, however, was spent at Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC). During that time, he spent a number of years as Director of CMHC's Seniors Housing Group. Since retiring in 2012, Tom has been a facilitator for the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL), where he has led groups on seniors housing options, among other topics.

All You Need is Less

The fashion industry has been called one of the world's most polluting industries - second only to big oil. In the face of sweatshops, fast fashion, and overflowing closets many are asking: Is it possible to look good while doing good, too? In this workshop, Madeleine Somerville, former Guardian columnist, blogger, and author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity will walk you through what a sustainable wardrobe really looks like - and the answer may surprise you. This session provides a fresh perspective on the fashion industry, as well as simple, accessible ways to shift our shopping habits to be more environmentally friendly (including many local resources right here in Calgary). Looking good never felt better.

Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

In 2010 Gord Fontaine moved from his role of a Financial and National Sales manager, and transformed his relentless passion for Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Italian food into the 'best little store that so few people know about'. Since establishing Soffritto, an Oil and Vinegar Bar, he spends every day pouring olive oil and making pasta. After a brief introduction, participants will learn about the proper tasting of olive oil, common misunderstandings about olive oil, and the business of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar pairings.


Giving Back

Meals on Wheels

Calgary Meals on Wheels has been around for over 50 years, but a lot has changed since we started in 1965. Currently there are five programs delivering over 2000 meals a day, dedicated to serving Calgarians in need. With our Home Meal Delivery Program, our volunteers deliver nutritious food right to their clients’ doors. Regardless of age or circumstance, anyone in Calgary can access this service. In 51 years MOW has never missed a scheduled day of delivery. Currently the program is expanding with the Hot Soup Program delivering nutritious meals to 15 elementary schools in Calgary. Volunteers are not only involved in driving, but also in accounting, client services, fundraising, database, office support and being ambassadors for special events. Come learn about the program, and the opportunity to be part of the action.


Taking Care of Business

Planning for Incapacity

Faced with having to assist in difficult life decisions for family and friends? This year Emma Hamilton and Aaron Bickman of the Wills and Estates group of McLeod Law join us to tackle the topic of Planning for Incapacity. Included in the presentation will be: The legislation in this area; Where this area of law is going; How to plan for incapacity; and the limitations in planning for incapacity, specifically the fact that there is no prescriptive way to allow for assisted dying at this time in Alberta; A discussion on medical assisted dying; A brief overview of the Supreme Court of Canada Carter cases (Carter v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 SCC 4 and Carter v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5).

ARTA Retiree Benefits Session

Welcome back Gary Sawatzky whose presentation will provide an update on the ARTA Retiree Benefits Plan, including plan design changes, experience, group benefits, marketplace developments, and legislation changes over the past year. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions regarding the Plan, and pursue a number of topics, including eligibility, plan design, and how future direction may be impacted in the current political climate.

Personal Insurance

Join Laurie Bauer to explore beyond the basics of personal insurance. This session will touch upon a variety of subjects, including new coverage available in the industry, changes in the insurance marketplace, personal liability and much more! We will conclude with a Q&A session, so be sure to bring any questions you may have. Laurie is the Business Development Manager for TW Insurance Brokers and a 20-year veteran in the Insurance industry. She is passionate about delivering customer service that exceeds expectations. She is also the proud mother of three grown children, an extremely overactive Jack Russell Terrier and is (im)patiently waiting to be a grandmother.


Highlights of Calgary

Reader Rock Garden - A Cultural Landscape

Welcome Diane Dalkin, long-time volunteer and current President of the Friends of Reader Rock Garden Society. A Master Gardener, Diane will share insights about Calgary’s Best Kept Secret, and how Cultural Landscapes connect people with their past and tell the story of how communities develop. Reader Rock Garden is one such special place. Overlooking the Stampede Grounds, it was the first Legacy Park to open. Its restoration was honoured with a Calgary Heritage Authority Lion Award in Landscape Preservation, earning official designation as a Provincial Historic Resource. Hear the story of its early years, slow demise, re-building and past-restoration.

Meet Me At the Corner: The Story Of An Intersection

Today sandstone and terra cotta, steel and glass proclaim the long spiritual, commercial and communications heritage of the intersection of 7th Avenue and 1st Street West. Through fires and feuds, prayer meetings and public disturbances, gargoyles and Greyhounds, cesspits and CTrains, we will follow the ups and downs of Calgary’s first “big city” intersection. Doug Coats is a senior historical interpreter with Heritage Park and a former Junior High School social studies teacher with the Calgary Board of Education. A native Calgarian, his background in teaching and interest in history, combine to make his presentations interesting and entertaining for his audience.

Calgary’s Railway Story

Cowtown? Oiltown? For much of our history, “Railtown” would have been a better description. Our location, our street system, our industries, several of our parks and districts, even the Calgary Tower and our south CTrain route- you’ll be amazed at how much of modern Calgary is the creation of our railways. And they make for lots of good stories, too. Doug Coats is a senior historical interpreter with Heritage Park and a former Junior High School social studies teacher with the Calgary Board of Education. A native Calgarian, his background in teaching and interest in history, combine to make his presentations interesting and entertaining for his audience


Other Highlights

Breakfast In The National Parks

Lori Bayne, Parks Canada 150 Program Advisor, joins us for breakfast, and then will share a visual journey into how Canada’s 46 national parks, 171 national historic sites and 4 national marine conservation areas will celebrate this momentous occasion and be THE PLACE you’ll want to visit in 2017. The 2017 Discovery Pass will provide free admission for the entire year to Parks Canada’s places from coast to coast to coast! We invite you to visit and connect with Canada’s treasured places that are gateways to nature, culture, adventure, and discovery during Canada’s sesquicentennial. Lori will be available in the lobby for your individual questions.

Social Hour

At 2:20 wind down the day, and join in the happy hour (no host bar) with your fellow participants. Take the time to visit old and new friends, talk about the day’s highlights and share some chuckles. Trevor Waters, retired CBE Band and Choral Teacher, is back with his magic keyboard. Enjoy the hospitality, and see if you are a lucky door prize winner.

Conference Raffle

viaSpecial thanks to VIA Rail. For the 12th year, return Trip for 2 - Edmonton to Vancouver. CRTA adds $500 to help with expenses.
Tickets will be available at the Conference and Art Show.

Bonus Project

“Steppin’ Out” Invites You to Share Photos of Your Schooldays

Do you have photos of yourself, friends or family in a school setting? To celebrate Canada’s birthday a slide show of photos showing school settings for the past 150 years is being produced. This will be shown at our annual “Steppin’ Out Conference” April 28, 2017.

Submit them digitally to:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please include a few words with each photo identifying the people, location and approximate date.

There will be 3 prizes of Canadian mint commemorative coin sets for the oldest and most entertaining photos, as well as, a random draw from all submissions.

If digital is not possible, mail your photos, with a stamped, return addressed envelope and I will scan and return them to you.

Margaret Espetveidt, 59 Livingstone Estates, Calgary, T2Z 1E1



This is our 12th Annual “Steppin’ Out” Conference, and it would not be possible without the Generosity of the following partners who have supported us over the years.

More than 50% of the cost of this year’s conference has been funded by the generosity of the CRTA and these other SPONSORS.

Special Thanks to:

artalogo      viarail      twinsurance      allianz      crta hor logo

* Special Thanks to Cartoonist Les McClaine for use of “Hippo Steppin’ Out” and Tony Esteves for “Hippo 150”


Registration Information

Banquet Only Thursday, April 27 $35 (includes taxes)
Conference Only Friday, April 28  
  Early Bird Pre March 20 $65 (includes taxes)
  Regular After March 20 $75 (includes taxes)
Banquet and Conference Thursday and Friday  
  Early Bird Pre March 20 $100 (includes taxes)
  Regular After March 20 $110 (includes taxes)

Conference Registration includes all Meals and Sessions.